• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest
NOV
17
2 YEARS

'X Factor': Chris Rene Wears Controversial Rocawear 'Occupy' Shirt

The Top 10 finalist says show stylists scored the discontinued tee direct from Jay-Z, but did Rene consider what happens if he wins the $5 million prize and joins the 1 percent by default?

Chris Rene Occupy shirt P
Shirley Halperin

Being a Top 10 finalist on X Factor has its privileges. Just ask Chris Rene, who managed to get his hands on a Rocawear Occupy Wall Street shirt for his performance of Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry” on Wednesday night. despite the fact that the Jay-Z-owned company pulled the tees from its website and retailers amid a storm of controversy.

PHOTOS: The Scene at Occupy Wall Street

At issue: the idea that the line was created to support Occupy Wall Street but would not share profits with the thousands of protesters who’ve set up camp in parks and near government buildings for the better part of two months.

Said one such critic: "Jay-Z, as talented as he is, has the political sensibility of a hood rat and is a scrotum. To attempt to profit off of the first important social moment of 50 years with an overpriced piece of cotton is an insult to the fight for economic civil rights known as #occupywallstreet."

PHOTOS: The Scene at Occupy Los Angeles

Rene scored the shirt through the show’s stylist team, led by June Ambrose, who informed the finalist that it came from Jay-Z. “I’m so honored, I can barely say anything,” Rene told the Hollywood Reporter following his performance.

As for the message? He too feels solidarity with Occupy protesters, but what happens if he wins the $5 million prize and becomes part of the 1 percent? Said Rene: “I'd be one of those clowns, but I would be helping the 99%. There's always a solution. It's what you do with your money and with your heart. Because actions speak louder than words, and in life, it's the most important thing.”