Walmart Ripped Off Nazi Shirt From Graffiti Writer

Recent updates to this story.

Looks like Walmart didn’t just rip off the Nazis, they also ripped off artist Shep Fairey, known for his “OBEY GIANT” creations.

Both have the same skull. Shep’s has, “Defiant Since ’89”. Walmart’s says, “Since 1978.”

Shirt was on sale at Obey’s merch shop Karmaloop, though it’s currently out of stock (google cache here). You can still get it through a few other distributors.

We venture that Walmart’s ripoff is not just a photoshop of the OBEY design. Note the inset star on the Obey design. We posit that Walmart’s designer researched a clean version of the Totenkopf skull and deliberately ignored that it was found in the “Copyright Free Nazi Imagery” section. While the mechanical process of Walmart’s recreation is indeterminate, the inspiration is clear…

Special thanks to reader Schvitzatura for pointing this out, on four different posts, at 3:04 PM, 15 minutes after we emailed Walmart’s PR firm again to ask when they were planning on removing these shirts from the sales floor.

A call to a NJ area Walmart confirmed the shirts were still for sale today, six days after they were first spotted and four days after Walmart’s PR firm promised their removal.

For your convenience, here’s a translation of what that German Obey:Giant tshirt site has to say about the “Obey Defiant Skull” shirt:

    “Defiant = Aufs

    ssig (star Trek forms). Okay, boy. Before you reach into the foaming eagerness to the feather/spring, think. This is naturally the pure provocation, but sees it times in such a way: OBEY has the bad, bad Totenkopf by right a rather crude clip clearly visibly reingehauen, at the Logo on the cheek bone. That did pain, and now the poor head is gel

    utert and into the styleful service that stepped world-better and wild Erneuerer. Take it or leave it. Peace! Loose T-Shirt – 50% cotton, 50% polyester.”

Shep Fairey and friends knew their shirt is naughty, but apparently, Walmart’s designers didn’t. — BEN POPKEN


Edit Your Comment

  1. Kornkob says:

    And here I was amazed that we were going a whole day without the ‘skull shirt’ story.

    Silly me thinking that Ben’s obsessions go away that quickly.

  2. Triteon says:

    Readers, send in stories…please! Consumerist is desperate for non-Nazi related articles.

  3. Trai_Dep says:

    Wow, I’m sort of choking with all the irony of “OBEY”, Waffen SS logos and American casualwear. Tho Shep Fairey did it by design, while Wal-Mart did it accidentally.
    So is Wal-Mart the Krups of neo-Nazism?

  4. thrillhouse says:

    While I enjoy any opportunity to laugh at Wal-Mart, can we please move along?

  5. bambino says:

    That’s a pretty well-known artist to ‘rip off’

  6. AcilletaM says:

    Hey, you ran that through the Google language tools!

  7. goaway147 says:

    Oh, how the hypocrisy shows through!

    “Wal-mart evil Nazi supporters!! Oh wait, someone we think is cool actually has done this on a tee-shirt?!? Oh, well, um he must have known what he was doing right? Yeah, that’s it he was making a statement. But wait we’ve been accusing Wal-mart of Nazism, so that means we were implying that they know what they were talking about…but no wait they didn’t. Oh I’m so confused!”

  8. Nancy Sin says:

    So Wal-mart is taking its cues from Urban Outfitters, not the SS.

    But really, the inset star couldn’t be more easily photoshopped out. Unless you’re joking… my sarcasm detectors aren’t up to par this morning.

  9. Ben Popken says:

    I’ll have to ask my graphic designer friend but I don’t think scanning and photoshopping is a good way to make a hi-rez print-ready image. Also, the right ear bone thing on Walmart’s looks more oblate than Shep’s.

  10. thrillhouse says:

    No, Ben, but you can just as easliy scan and trace with vector lines if so inclined. This would make the artwork easily tweaked and explain why the Wal-Mart version is not identical to the “obey” version.

  11. Nancy Sin says:

    I see what you’re saying (quite literally, upon closer examination) but all I’m saying is that it’s 99x more likely that Wallyworld was looking to mimic some hip, urban streetwear and used that crappy OBEY shirt as a template. Removing an inset or altering the bones is very, very possible with graphics software, albeit maybe not exclusively Photoshop.

    It’s a sloppy move for Wal-mart either way.

  12. humphrmi says:

    I’m confused… Wal Mart won’t pull their shirts off the shelves, but it’s OK to plug the other guy’s shirts? What about hounding the other guy to stop selling them, or are they out of stock permanently? And if so, why do we need a link to the Google cache? And why do we need to know that we can buy it from “a few other distributors?”

    OK you’ve been obsessed with the Nazi / Walmart angle, fine, I can respect that. But why aren’t you obsessed with the Nazi / Obey angle? Or the Nazi / “Other Distributors” angle? Are Nazis OK as long as they aren’t promoted by Wal Mart?

    Sorry, you had me then you lost me Ben.

  13. Jesse McBesse says:

    yeah! what humphrmi said!

  14. pestie says:

    I just wish I had a blog where I could have written about this weeks ago. I was looking at the Target-wannabe-hipster-shirts in a local Wal*Mart 2 or 3 weeks ago, noticed this shirt, and thought to myself, “I swear I’ve seen that skull on The ADL’s racist symbols pages.” I promptly forgot about it and went back to figuring out how to get the hell out of Wal*Mart as quickly as possible. If only I’d known that shirt could have been the key to my 15 minutes, I’d have done more.

  15. Ben Popken says:

    humphrmi: We’re not plugging his shirts. The links are to show that these shirts exist. It’s a tricky question but I think there’s a difference between an artists making a statement and a making a buck… maybe a post on this later after I think it over more.

  16. Jesse McBesse says:

    YAY! another post on the shirt!! can’t wait!!!

    i keed, i keed… i’m actually interested in hearing what consumerist has to say about this; it’s an excellent point, humphrmi.

  17. Ben Popken says:

    ^ that should read “and a retailer making a buck… “

  18. Jennifer42 says:

    “reach into the foaming eagerness to the feather/spring,” = “jump to conclusions.”

    “Aufsässig” means “rebellious.”

  19. Ben Popken says:

    If someone could give us a much better translation of the item copy on this page, that would be fantastic.

  20. Jennifer42 says:

    It’s really asinine…not 100% literal, but:

    Okay, boy. Before you jump to conclusions, stop and think about it. This is obviously meant to be provocative, but look at it this way: the evil totenkopf is clearly struck (attacked) by the logo on the cheekbone. That hurt, and now the poor head is purified (‘cleaned’) and pressed into stylish service to make the world better and rehabilitate(renovate)the bad.

    IOW, making fun of a nazi image in the name of style. I apologize for crummy translating, it’s been fifteen years since my last german class.

  21. synergy says:

    OK, so this thing showing up AGAIN on my feed is starting to feel like an icepick to the eye. I’m getting tempted to turn off the feed. >:|

  22. omicronpersei8 says:

    The local Walmart is still selling the t-shirt. I took this photo just a few hours ago.