Urban Outfitters apologized Monday morning for selling a "vintage" Kent State University sweatshirt with a design that resembled bloodstains.
The retailer contended that it had no idea the shirt would be perceived as referring to the 1970 incident at the school that claimed the lives of four students, calling the sweatshirt a "one-of-a-kind item" in a statement.
Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused. It (cont) http://t.co/o3oKyPJFu8— Urban Outfitters (@UrbanOutfitters) September 15, 2014
"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 retailer said in a statement. It explained that the red stains are "discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray."
On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guard troops opened fire on students protesting the War in Vietnam. Four students were killed and nine others were injured. The incident is perceived as a watershed moment that changed public opinion on the conflict in Southeast Asia.
The university issued a statement on the shirt on Monday morning inviting the company’s executives to visit the school to learn more about the tragedy. Its president also responded on Twitter.
May 4 was a watershed moment for our country. We take great offense to those using our pain for publicity & profit. http://t.co/UiJB3fGJNw— Beverly Warren (@PresBWarren) September 15, 2014
"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," the university said in its statement. "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."
Kent State students also expressed their outrage over the shirt.
As a KSU student, this really bothers me. Yet another PR blunder for Urban Outfitters. http://t.co/fv5R3EZLiR— Hanna Moore (@_hannamoore) September 15, 2014