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Urban Outfitters under fire after offering controversial Kent State sweatshirt

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Posted at 12:26 PM, Sep 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-15 13:05:11-04

Urban Outfitters is at the center of a new controversy after offering what appeared to be a faux-bloodstained “Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt” on their website over the weekend.

kentstateurbanThe sweatshirt was widely interpreted to be a reference to the 1970 Kent State Massacre.

In May 1970, four unarmed Kent State University students died when the National Guard opened fire during a Vietnam War protest.

The sweatshirt was listed on Urban Outfitters’ website for $129. Only a single sweatshirt was available.

The description read, “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!”

Kent State University sent WJW a statement that reads:

“May 4, 1970, was a watershed moment for the country and especially the Kent State family. We lost four students that day while nine others were wounded and countless others were changed forever.

We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit. This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.

We invite the leaders of this company as well as anyone who invested in this item to tour our May 4 Visitors Center, which opened two years ago, to gain perspective on what happened 44 years ago and apply its meaning to the future.”

Urban Outfitters also responded to the outrage the sweatshirt caused.

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.”