The first noted offense was in 2003, when the store introduced a board game spin off dubbed ‘Ghettopoly.’ The main critics of the game included a local chapter of the NAACP and a black clergy, claiming it was racist. Ghettopoly’s creator, David Chang, defended the game, but Urban Outfitters removed it from the market, as they should, considering the sensitive nature of the item.
The store has a track record of repeatedly upsetting the Jewish community, as the company has released products that received significant backlash since the early two thousands.
First, in 2003, was a t-shirt bearing the words “Everybody Loves a Jewish Girl.” Next were keffiyehs in 2007, marketed as antiwar scarves. In 2012, Urban Outfitters sparked outrage in the Anti-Defamation League for selling a t-shirt with a six-pointed star design, claimed to be reminiscent of the star Jews were made to wear during the Holocaust, which, if the allegations were true, is clearly unacceptable.
Given that this is a people group that has been routinely offended by the store, maybe Urban should stop trying to sell items that involve the Jewish population.
When the store began manufacturing a ‘Navajo’ line in 2011, ranging from flasks to underwear, they caught the attention of the Navajo Nation, who sent a letter to Urban Outfitters, demanding that the company stop using the term ‘Navajo,’ due to copyright infringement of the term and violation of the Federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990.
A line of merchandise made in 2012 was aimed at the stereotypical Irish drunkenness with attire bearing words such as “Irish Yoga: Downward Facing Upchuck,” which irritated some, but was seen as jocular by others.
The shirts have few differences from the mass marketed St. Patrick’s Day shirts, and don’t necessitate such a negative response.
Among other prominent affronts was the production of a shirt in 2010 bearing the words ‘Eat Less,’ which promotes an eating-disorder mentality. The caption may have said “eat less or more or however much you’d like…” but that does not excuse the body shaming.
In 2004 Urban Outfitters bought several thousand Jesus Dress Up refrigerator magnets to sell in the store. Even though I’m part of a Christian family, and I find this in no way offensive. To be honest, I think they’re funny.
The majority of the offending items have been revoked or otherwise altered, and are listed as ‘sold out’ on the Urban Outfitters website.
This was a wise decision on their part, as various individuals had publicly denounced the store, and with all the trouble they have gotten into in the past, perhaps there should be some consideration about the products they put forth from now on, in order to maintain a strong successful customer base and positive reputation.
I am not Jewish, or Irish, or a part of the Navajo Nation, but a while many items were insulting, a few of the so-called offensive items don’t really seem worthy of the major backlash they obtained, and it just goes to show that people are easy to offend and like to complain if something catches their eye.