Promoting rape culture in any way or form is unacceptable, but it looks like Spencer’s, also known as Spencer Gifts, either did not receive that memo or decided to forget all about it in favor of making a few bucks.
The retailer, known for selling gag gifts and borderline offensive products, recently released a new line of T-shirts featuring one of President-elect Donald Trump’s most controversial and disturbing statements about women.
Facebook user Mary Numair was the first to share the photo of the appalling display she stumbled upon during her visit to Portland's Lloyd Center shopping mall.
“In case anyone still needed a reason to never walk into a Spencer's again, this is proudly being displayed in the front of their PDX store. Way to normalize sexual assault,” she wrote on Facebook. “This is smack dab in the front of the store. It's in the middle of the entrance. We were walking by and it was hard to miss.”
While other pro-Trump T-shirts include phrases — including “Team Trump,” “Trump 16: Finally Someone With B***,” and “Deal With It — Grab America By The P****” (which came from a leaked 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape) is a worrisome reminder that some ignorant bigots still see sexual assault as a joke.
How many men get rape threats for calling out a problematic situation? For defending the basic safety of people?— Mary Numair (@MaryNumair) January 16, 2017
The image immediately went viral, prompting harsh criticism from all across the country.
Revolting. https://t.co/xUoqNhuz9s— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis) January 16, 2017
I worked at a Spencer Gifts about 15 years ago and we sold some offensive stuff at the time, but nothing like this. I would quit over this. https://t.co/MDOxFhrXDN— (((david??golbitz))) (@davidgolbitz) January 15, 2017
On its website, Spencer’s advertised the now-sold out shirt with this:
“He's done it again. The Donald grabbed America by the pu$$y this election, now you can too with this hilarious political tee! This laugh out loud Spencer's exclusive shirt is perfect for reminding everyone that Trump's in charge.”
Following intense backlash, Lloyd Center general manger Bob Dye said the merchandise was “wrong on so many levels.”
“What defies all logic to me is that Spencer Gifts would do this in spite of this being a holiday weekend recognizing a man who spent his career and gave his life to further equality and fight discrimination,” he told Oregon Live.com. “That said, I am pleased to inform you that at the very least, the assistant manager of Spencer Gifts has agreed to relocate the display to the rear of the store and face it towards the back wall as well.”
Meanwhile, the company claimed the shirts are “satire” and then compared it to Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of the future commander-in-chief on “Saturday Night Live” — because normalizing sexual assault is the same as mocking the man who said “grab ‘em by the p****.”
“The shirt was never meant to promote any type of abuse or attack on any person,” clarified Spencer's Vice President and General Counsel Kevin Mahoney. "The shirt originates with the comment made by the president-elect. The purpose of that shirt was to address that controversy and that news, and not in any way to condone that type of activity.”
Whatever their justification might be, the truth is the shirts were made in a very poor taste and are just revolting.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters