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Urban Outfitters’ Star of David T-shirt sparks controversy

Lindsay MacAdam
Shine On
April 23, 2012

American clothing retailer Urban Outfitters is not one to play it safe with their merchandise selection. It seems the company is under fire every few months for some form of copycat behaviour or offensive product.

This time around, the trendy chain is being criticized by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for a seemingly innocent yellow T-shirt called the "Kellog Tee," made by Danish clothing brand Wood Wood. The problem with the tee, reports Gawker, is the blue symbol on the pocket that distinctly resembles the Star of David that Jews were forced to wear throughout the Holocaust.

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"We find this use of symbolism to be extremely distasteful and offensive, and we are outraged that your company would make this product available to your customers," writes ADL Philadelphia's director Barry Morrison to Urban Outfitters CEO Richard A. Hayne.

The letter continues  to say the product "represents a new low" for the company that has been known to "tread on the feelings and reinforced stereotypes of various groups -- Christians, blacks and Irish, Mexican, and Jewish-Americans...the list goes on."

The ADL demands that Urban Outfitters publicly apologize, take the offensive product off the shelves and meet with ADL representatives, reports the Huffington Post.

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The T-shirt in question, which is still available through the company's online store for $100, seems to have been removed from the main shopping pages and is now only available by direct link or searching for it by name.

Other offensive shirts in Urban Outfitters' past include ones saying, "Irish I were drunk", "Kiss me, I'm drunk, or Irish, or whatever" and "Eat less", as well as a tank top colour called "Obama/Black".

The company was recently accused of being racially insensitive with its Navajo-themed product line, according to Jezebel, and New York Magazine reports that the conservative group One Million Moms was recently up in arms about the company's catalog photo featuring two girls kissing.

Do you think Urban Outfitters is stirring the pot purposely in order to drum up publicity?

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