Urban Outfitters has stepped into controversy again with its new St. Patrick's Day themed merchandise. Last fall, the retailer was criticized for its "Navajo Collection" of clothing and accessories and the Navajo Nation filed suit on February 29, 2011 for trademark violation. Now, Congressman Tim Crowley, head of the Congressional Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs, has written to CEO Richard Hayne asking him to pull products which has says are offense to the Irish. "By selling and promoting these items, Urban Outfitters is only fueling stereotypes that many Irish Americans, as well as the people of Ireland, work so hard to dispel," stated Crowley's letter.
The items in question include a t-shirt that proclaims, "Kiss me, I'm drunk, Irish, or whatever" and a trucker's style hat that pictures a figure on all fours vomiting and reads, "Irish Yoga." While the designers behind the crass products might have had some yukks creating them, My Fox NY reports that Seamus Boyle, of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the largest Irish organization in the United States, isn't finding it a laughing matter. "There are those few who use this day as an excuse to over celebrate but that does not give you or anyone else the right to defame and debase a whole race of people by selling the garbage that you display in your stores," Boyle wrote in a letter to the company. His group is threatening a boycott.
While some St. Patrick's Day celebrations have the reputation for being booze-soaked, critics of the merchandise say it only fuels dangerous behavior such as binge drinking. So far, Urban Outfitters has not responded and a range of items are still available on the website.
What do you think of the Urban Outfitter's St. Patrick's Day merchandise? Let us know in the comments below.