Kent State calls Urban Outfitters sweatshirt distasteful, retailer apologizes


KENT, OH (Toledo News Now) - Some say a new item on clothing retailer Urban Outfitters' website is an insensitive reference to tragedy on an Ohio college campus.

The clothing company is on the receiving end of negative backlash after it released a faux-vintage Kent State sweatshirt which appeared to be splattered in blood.

Many believe the shirt references the May 4, 1970 shootings on the school's campus, in which four unarmed students protesting the Vietnam War were killed by the Ohio National Guard.

The item no longer appears on the company's website, but is selling on ebay with prices starting at $550.

Monday Kent State released the statement regarding the sweatshirt:

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 has apologized, and says the sweatshirt was not meant to evoke memories of the shooting.  The retailer released the following statement on the matter:

"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."

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