So apparently the new rage in fashion is to spend thousands of dollars brainstorming, creating, and marketing horribly offensive t-shirts and then pass it all off later, pulling the t-shirts after enough publicity has been generated. Well, here I am, fulfilling my part in that great cycle. (It's like The Lion King!) Topman, the British men's clothing store owned by billionaire Sir Philip Greene, is attracting controversy over two horribly misogynistic t-shirts.
One of the shirts carries the headline "I'm so sorry, but…" and is followed by a series of tick-box answers: "You provoked me," "I was drunk," "I was having a bad day," "I hate you," "I didn't mean it," and finally, "I couldn't help it." "I was drunk" is checked, natch, because I guess that's the least horrible excuse (or, arguably the most horrible).
The second one is emblazoned with athletic-style script that reads: "Nice New Girlfriend: What Breed Is She?
Of course, the shirts were yanked from both online and retail stores. Here's the standard boilerplate apology from Topman:
"We have received some negative feedback regarding two of our printed T-shirts. Whilst we would like to stress that these T-shirts were meant to be light hearted and carried no serious meaning we have made the decision to remove these from store and on-line as soon as possible. We would like to apologize to those who may have been offended by these designs."
Whilst I wouldn't want to make any assumptions about Topman's creative team, that's a load of horseshit. We've been seeing a nice run of casually misogynist t-shirts from American retailers lately, but casual apparel emblazoned with oft-cited excuses for domestic abuse is a new low.
To assume that such shirts would be met with anything but outrage is beyond the pale of average corporate stupidity — it's clear to me at least that this was an elaborate stunt, and one that's plumbing new depths of reprehensible marketing behavior.