KENT, Ohio (WKYC) – A vintage Kent State University sweatshirt is stirring up national attention because of its blood-splattered appearance.
The Urban Outfitters sweatshirt quickly became a hot topic on social media Monday, with many people angry about its apparent connection to the deadly May 4, 1970 shootings in which four students were killed.
The $129 sweatshirt has already sold out. One of the sweatshirts has since been put up for sale on eBay with a starting price of $550 or buy-it-now price of $2,500.
Coverage of this bloody sweatshirt aired on the “Today” show Monday morning and was published on People.com, among other major national news outlets.
Kent State has released the following statement regarding this 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 the 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 since posted the following apology on Twitter:
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 the 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.
Kent shooting survivor Alan Canfora, director of Kent May 4 Center, not affiliated with Kent State University, replied to WKYC in response to Urban Outfitters’ apology. The center said: “They are lying! Compare to Urban Outfitter shirt and their dubious apology & denial of 1970 insensitivity.”