An Epic Fail From Urban Outfitters

by
Suzanne Robertson
Urban Outfitters is facing a PR nightmare with blood-spattered sweatshirts.

The Kent State National Guard killings are a dark chapter in American history. In 1970, a National Guard unit fired at students at the Ohio school during an anti-war protest on campus, killing four and wounding nine people. 

Urban Outfitters launched a vintage-style Kent State University sweatshirt, complete with blood spatters. The sweatshirt, which was listed on the company’s website for $129, was apparently part of its “Vintage Finds” collection, handpicked one-of-a-kind pieces.


Images of the sweatshirt quickly circulated online and drew immediate response from Kent State University and survivors of the shooting, who said the retailer was exploiting a tragedy for publicity and profit.

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

The Urban Outfitters apologized Monday. "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 statement reads.

The website says the item is “sold out,” but a company spokeswoman said the shirt has been removed from the website and has not been sold. A person claiming to have purchased the top has listed it for sale on EBay for $550. 

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