The fashion retailer Urban Outfitters removed a “vintage” sweatshirt from sale after allegations that it appeared to be stained with blood, recalling deadly Vietnam war protests when National Guardsmen shot and killed four students at the university depicted on the garment.
The company said that it had not intended to allude to the events at Kent State university in Ohio in 1970, when four students died and nine others were wounded.
“Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused. It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such,” a company spokesperson said on Monday.
On 4 May 1970, the third night of on-campus Vietnam war protests turned violent when National Guardsmen opened fire on students on the Ohio campus.
A friend cries out over the body of Jeffrey Miller, one of the four students killed at a peace demonstration at Kent State University. Photograph: John Filo/Getty
Public outcry against the sweatshirt began around on Sunday. Urban Outfitters offered the sweatshirt as “washed soft and perfectly broken in,” a single item for $129.
“We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit,” said Kent State spokesperson Emily Vincent. “This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.”
The sweatshirt was removed from the website by Monday morning. It was originally intended to be part of the company’s “sun-faded vintage” collection, and there was no blood on the shirt, the spokesperson said. “The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray,” the spokesperson said.
'Bloodied' Kent State sweatshirt removed from Urban Outfitters website | World news | theguardian.com