Urban Outfitters Pulls Shirt That Reminds People Of The Holocaust

Urban Outfitters is in the middle of another scandal involving questionable imagery in its clothing. Jewish groups and other critics say a yellow t-shirt on their site last week seemed to resemble a Star of David patch. And since the last time a patch of that kind was used was by Nazis who forced Jews to wear it leading up to and during the Holocaust, well, it wasn’t a good move.

Time.com says the $100 “Kellogg” t-shirt is designed by a Danish label, Wood Wood, and debuted on the site last week.

“We find this use of symbolism to be extremely distasteful and offensive, and we are outraged that your company would make this product available to your customers,” Barry Morrison, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote in a letter to the chairman of the retail firm.

The shirt is still on the site — but sans star. That’s because Wood Wood says the patch was only a prototype they’ve used before and not meant to be viewed on the store’s site. So, it’s just a plain yellow shirt for $100. Got it.

In a statement, the designer says:

Dear friends,
as some of you are aware, several news sites have been writing about our ‘Kellog’ T-shirt, which feature an image of a six-pointed star, allegedly similar to the yellow badge jews were ordered to wear by the German nazis.
First of all the graphic is not the Star of David, and I can assure you that this is in no way a reference to judaism, nazism or the holocaust. The graphic came from working with patchwork and geometric patterns for our spring/summer collection ‘State of Mind’.
However when we received the prototype of this particular style we did recognize the resemblance, which is why we decided not to include the star patch on the final production T-shirt.
I assume the image people have reacted to comes from Urban Outfitters´ web site. This must be a photograph of an early prototype.
I am sorry if anyone was offended seeing the shirt, it was of course never our intention to hurt any feelings with this.

Urban Outfitters has been under fire from critics claiming racism in its apparel offerings lately, including St. Patrick’s Day t-shirts depicting stereotypes of drunken, fighting Irishmen and a lawsuit from the Native American Navajo Nation for “derogatory and scandalous” designs.

Urban Outfitters Under Fire over ‘Holocaust T-Shirt’ [Time.com]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Bent Rooney says:

    Who cares about the six-sided patch? I’m offended by offering a $100 t shirt! You have got to be joking.

    • DarthCoven says:

      As a Jew I have to say that I am HIGHLY offended by the price tag on that t-shirt.

      $100 for a yard of cotton sewn by a child in Honduras?

    • redskull says:

      No sh*t. You know who else sells plain t-shirts? Target does. For $5.

      I don’t think I’d pay $100 for a tailored dress shirt. I wouldn’t pay $100 for a damn t-shirt if you held a gun to my head.

      • 99 1/2 Days says:

        Damn man, I got some kick ass long sleeved tees close out for a buck at Dollar General. (Made it worth it to spend part of the afternoon in the checkout line…)

    • alana0j says:

      I hear the shirt comes with a happy ending…almost makes it worth the $100

  2. Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

    100 dollars? For a shirt? One shirt?
    Does it dispense free drinks and get me laid?
    Who pays 100$ for A SHIRT?!

  3. shepd says:

    You guys in the states are lucky. Unfortunately, it turns out, a small number of jewish folks are outraged at just about anything that could even be remotely misinterpreted as anti-semite.

    It took several years of fighting for us in Canada to get Al-Jazeera legally. Not that I care for it, but according to certain over-the-top jewish groups, it is an anti-semite station. *sigh*

    • Laura Northrup says:

      It’s legal here, but very few cable providers offer it.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        I would actually like to watch it. It seems to be the most legitimate news source for it’s region, and it helps to get perspective from other countries on world events.

        The best I get is when NPR does the British news broadcasts and they talk about U.S. financial and political events. Even that much is revealing of what outsiders think of the U.S.

        • kobresia says:

          Yep, I like watching or listening to BBC news or ITN World News for that very reason. They seem to be a bit more in-touch with what’s happening around the globe, and almost all of what they discuss puts into perspective what trivial garbage almost everything that dominates US newscasts is.

          In fact, whenever I get bored enough to watch a US-based newscast, my favorite drinking game is to exclaim, “First World Problems!” and take a swig for every inane segment that they inflate the importance of to epic proportions.

        • TheMansfieldMauler says:

          Even that much is revealing of what outsiders think of the U.S.

          Because they love us so much? The rest of the world loves us, don’t they? Just like He said they would if He was elected!

    • SteveHolt says:

      You guys in the states are lucky. Unfortunately, it turns out, a small number of jewish folks are outraged at just about anything that could even be remotely misinterpreted as anti-semite.

      Is your point that this doesn’t happen in the states? Because holy shit, this happens in the states!

      • shepd says:

        No, my point is that the small number that are offended by anything get no say in laws down there, especially in free speech laws.

        Up here, they basically govern whether or not you can say or, it seems, think something. Want to put up a crazy website denying the holocaust because you’re a moron? In the states, people avoid you, because you clearly are insane. Here? You go to jail for a very, very long time, and lose everything, and the government seizes your website.

        • rdaex says:

          I actually think complete assholery such as that SHOULD be punished somehow. Call it ‘societal benefit’

        • Professor59 says:

          Yeah the jews just run everything. But hey, you sound like the kind of guy who has a solution to the jewish problem. I mean, they are only 1% of canadians. Certainly you can outlaw them at least.

          • shepd says:

            I think you’re reading too much into it.

            And, as the other commenter suggested, you might agree with him. Let’s start with putting assholes who disagree with liberty in jail first. :-)

          • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

            Oh please. Jews in the United States hold a disproportionate amount of political/societal power relative to their proportion of the population. (There are more Muslims in the US than Jews.)

            It’s not some massive conspiracy, or anything. I know that people are going to accuse me of stereotyping because I’m not going to type out the entire history, but there are historical reasons that the easiest professions for American Jews to find success in were entertainment and banking. Of course, at the executive level, one can wield a lot of power in those industries, so when the ADL talks, important people act.

            Compare this to the SPLC, who historically went after anti-black prejudice and has since expanded its horizons. (To be fair, the ADL is doing that more and more, too.)

  4. Jawaka says:

    Another over-reaction by groups looking for something to be offended by.

    • B2BigAl says:

      I was going to write a post, but you have taken the words right out of my mouth.

    • SavijMuhdrox says:

      GET OFF MY LAWN!!!!

      damn rassin-frassin hippies with their long sleeve t-shirts..

    • OutPastPluto says:

      If you had your extended family wiped out, you would be touchy too.

      They release a shirt like this just in time for Holocaust Remembrance Day. Way to stay classy.

  5. raphaeladidas says:

    I would pay $100 for a $100 shirt. That is a $10 shirt. At best.

  6. Bunnies Attack! says:

    I dunno, in the pic up top it looks like a sheriff’s badge to me…

    • Spaghettius! says:

      I think what brings it into Holocaust territory is how emaciated the model looks. It’s that, combined with the sickly yellow color and the star decal that really makes me feel uneasy.
      People have a right to wear whatever they want (even if they want to spend $100 on an ugly, vaguely offensive t-shirt), but if I saw someone wearing this in the street, I would make the connection.

    • kobresia says:

      That’s what I saw at first, too.

      It’s not like the Hebrews have a copyright on a six-pointed star that is comprised of two triangles knotted-together.

      Anyway, the one thing that differentiates a sheriff’s shield is that it’s a 7-point star, but once you get past 5 points, it’s just a “star with a crapload of points”.

      • Firethorn says:

        Google search for ‘police star badge’ has 1 7 point star(Jersey city police), 2 six point stars(garden grove, arlington), and 3 5 point.

        I’d say the number of points is ultimately up to the department in question.

  7. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    Jeez. Now Urban Outfitters is stealing stuff from the Nazis too.

  8. CoachTabe says:

    Right… they got the prototype for the shirt and instantly decided they didn’t like it but still photographed it, gave it to the web guys, and put the photo online as a product for sale? SURRRRRE.

  9. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I’ll grant the specific position of the star is questionable. But why can’t Jews take a symbol of their faith that was once used to hurt them and turn it around and celebrate it? Put giant Star of Davids on t-shirts, backpacks, etc. Own it, embrace it, and it will no longer have power over you.

  10. May contain snark says:

    That shirt is offensive, Anne Frankly, Urban Outfitters should be ashamed of themselves.

  11. LSonnenhimmer says:

    The original story misses out on the fact that the shirt was originally sold as “Auschwitz chic” and was recently renamed to wood wood. In that context the star would resemble the same one worn in Auschwitz. And thus is offensive.

  12. CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

    Silly crazy religious people.
    Cant they stay out of reality and stop accusing people of offending them when they are not?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      How is this related to religion? Hitler targeted Jews because of their heritage. This is about how the shirt reminded people of the clothing and patches the Jews were forced to wear in the camps.

    • Hoss says:

      If it looked like falling twin towers — you’d say crazy new yorkers?

  13. kobresia says:

    While the shirt is ridiculous, so are the people complaining about it.

  14. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    “We find this use of symbolism to be extremely distasteful and offensive, and we are outraged that your company would make this product available to your customers…”

    I guess any city, county or state police badges with six points will have to be re-designed now, eh?

  15. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    This is such horse shit. I never would have made the connection if some sniveling whiner hadn’t complained about it. The badges forced on the Jews were yellow and were pinned to their clothing, yes? The patch on the shirt is gray and looks like a police badge. So basically some douche bag is offended because it’s the same shape as those badges.

    Before long people will be getting sued for looking the wrong way at thin-skinned, spineless clowns like Barry Morrison.

    Also this: Ugly ass shirt in baby-shit yellow for $100? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

  16. Bodger says:

    Odd. Why can’t it be a simple Mughal hexagram or the occult hexagram or the astrological hexagram or the Hindu Shatkona or the six-pointed star of Gnostic or Islamic art or the Great Seal of the United States or even the Bierstern. Why does it have to be a freakin’ Mogen David? This is political correctness coming up against cowardice and the results aren’t pretty. Neither is the shirt for that matter but that is a different matter.

  17. longfeltwant says:

    I don’t see the offense. Often I do, this time I don’t. I think they need to ease up — a lot.

  18. StopGougingMeThere! says:

    This part in the article is interesting:

    “the $100 shirt appeared on the Urban Outfitters website last Thursday, in the same week as Yom HaShoah, the Holocaust Remembrance Day. Some detractors believe that this was not a coincidence.”

    That sort of makes the outcry a little easier to understand in my opinion.

  19. Telekinesis123 says:

    I think this Anti Defamation League resemble nazi’s more then anything pushing people around over the most frivolous and baseless things such as this, they sure act like they’ve lived through a concentration camp but have most likely been born in comfortable wealth their whole lives.

    • dcseth says:

      wait wait let me get this straight…you think the Anti-Defamation League is acting like Nazi’s? I’m sorry I must have missed the part of the article where they demand that certain races of people be wiped off the face of the earth. Or where they are complicit in the deaths of over 12million innocent people. Or where they’re forcing entire races of people into ghettos and death labor camps. Yeah, they’re just like the Nazi’s.

      You sir are ignorant. Crawl back under your rock.

  20. GoldVRod says:

    As much as it seems like an innocent design that’s been associated with nazism errantly I did find it interesting that the designer is unfortunately named “Brian SS Jensen”. Yes that’s with two SS.

    Also this is the design close up-> please note the ‘three legged’ center wire frame

    Name take a look at the design on the collar of this SS officer

    I have no idea if it’s a coincidence. Discuss!

    • Fishnoise says:

      I saw the three-legged design replacing the swastika in a Nazi-ish flag being waved by a group of demonstrators from Matt Hale’s notorious group, the World Church of the Creator, as they marched in front of a Hardee’s[!] in East Peoria, Illinois in the late 1990s. I flipped ’em off as I drove by.

      I hate Illinois Nazis.

    • corkdork says:

      Looking at the closeup, it’s not actually a Star of David at all — it’s a diagram of the intersection of the x-y, x-z, and y-z planes at the origin. Note how each plane is a different shade of blue, and you’ll get it. However, from the projection used, it does appear to be a six-pointed star.

      (Why, yes, I did major in math in college. Why do you ask?)

  21. SimonGodOfHairdos says:

    I saw the picture before I read anything, and I just thought it was a sherriff’s badge on an ugly yellow shirt.

  22. jacobs cows says:

    As this shirt was just a prototype and was found to be offensive to some,it should not be used.
    Maybe, just a silhoutte of the Koran should be tested next.