Pret-a-Reporter

Urban Outfitters Causes Online Outrage for "Vintage" Kent State Sweatshirt

Screenshot via Buzzfeed

The clothing item appears to be a reference to the 1970s shooting that killed four unarmed college students at the Ohio university

Urban Outfitters has come under fire for selling a red-splattered "vintage" Kent State sweatshirt that appears to resemble blood stains.

The clothing item seems to be a reference to the May 4, 1970, shooting (also known as the May 4 massacre) at the Ohio university campus, in which the Ohio National Guards killed four college students during a Vietnam War protest. The tragedy later inspired the protest song "Ohio," by Neil Young, who performed the single with his band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

According to BuzzFeed, the sweatshirt — described as "Washed soft and perfectly broken in, this vintage Kent State sweatshirt is cut in a loose, slouchy fit. Excellent vintage condition. We only have one, so get it or regret it!" — caused Twitter users to call out Urban Outfitters' poor taste for selling the piece, with some saying "it is appalling" and others deeming it as "another reason to boycott" the company. The sweatshirt has since been marked as "sold out" from the retailer's website.

This isn't the first time Urban Outfitters has faced public backlash for one of its products. It has sold a "depression" crop top, an "eat less" V-neck tee, and a shirt that was featured in two color combos called "Obama/Black" and "White/Charcoal," among many other repulsive references.

Though the shirt has been removed from the site, it is currently being listed on eBay with a starting bid of $550. To prove that the piece was bought from Urban Outfitters, user "kentstatesweater" also included his or her online confirmation of the purchase. "I ordered it and am waiting myself, as soon as it arrives, I'll ship it to you. Perfect for Halloween or whatever your deal is," the user wrote in the description section. "Also I'm gonna give 50 percent of the profit to The Southern Poverty Law Center, who protect those who cannot protect themselves, often those who are victims of police brutality."

Screenshot via eBay

Urban Outfitters has since issued a statement, apologizing for the situation on Twitter: "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. The one-of-a-kind item was purchased as part of our sun-faded vintage collection. There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray. Again, we deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively and we have removed it immediately from our website to avoid further upset."

Sept. 5, 11:27 a.m. Updated with statement from Urban Outfitters

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