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Topman Pulls ‘nice New Girlfriend, What Breed is She?’ T-shirt After Twitter Outrage

Posted on the 14 September 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Topman pulls ‘nice new girlfriend, what breed is she?’ t-shirt after Twitter outrage

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High street retailer Topman has been forced to remove hundreds of t-shirts after being accused of promoting sexism and ‘glamorising’ domestic violence. The men’s clothing store, owned by billionaire Sir Philip Green, stopped selling the two items at its shops and online following a storm of outraged tweets on Twitter and dozens of direct complaints.

One of the offending shirts carried the message “I’m so sorry, but” followed by tick-box answers: “You provoked me”, “I was drunk”, “I was having a bad day”, “I hate you.” “I didn’t mean it” and “I couldn’t help it.” Under the option “I was drunk”, the box is ticked. The other shirt bluntly inquired “Nice girlfriend, what breed is she.” Stay classy, Topman.

A spokesman for Topman said in a statement: “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 apologise to those who may have been offended by these designs.”

  • “What was Topman thinking with these T-shirts?” asked The Women’s Blog at The Guardian’s website. The blog detailed how the online outcry was swiftly organised. A campaign against “the blatant sexism” began on Twitter, where it was picked up by Tender, a London-based charity that works with young people to tackle the causes of domestic violence. They set up a JustGiving campaign, asking people to donate towards their valuable work instead of buying the shirts; and a Facebook group, sTopman, with the aim of raising awareness and ultimately asking Topman to withdraw the t-shirts from sale. The group quickly picked up hundreds of members before, just a few hours after the backlash began, Topman announced their decision to stop selling the t-shirts.
  • Twitter outrage. This is hardly the worst thing in the store, piped up Matt_Thurman, it’s all “OFFENSIVE TO FASHION.” Having a riff on the first logo, Thewritertype came up with an alternative: “Nice chairman, what breed of tax-dodging sleazebag is he?”
  • TopMISOGNY. Holymoly led with the elbow in an article entitled “More like TopMISOGYNY.” It questioned the continued existence of the store that stumbles along four paces behind Topshop “bumping into things, like a retarded Roomba, putting out shit clothes and being generally awful.” And that’s before the sexism. Which is pretty bad and not at all amusing. “It’s not over-egging the pudding or misreading the situation to be offended by this t-shirt. Each and every item on that checklist could easily be used as an ‘excuse’ for domestic or sexual violence, and the fact that the ‘I was drunk’ box is ticked, serves only to promote the use of drunkenness as an excuse for shitty behaviour.”
  • Idiotic and insulting. “Topman is the latest to join the Fucking Awful T-Shirt Club, offering two new gross t-shirts for your sartorial consumption,” sniped Jezebel blog. “If we seem particularly humorless (angry wominz!) about these shirts, it’s because … they’re idiotic and insulting.” Jezebel wondered, “does the fashion industry have a some kind of secret competition to see who can create the most outrageously offensive graphic tee?”
  • Shame on Topman. The Daily Mail quoted Sandra Horley, CBE, chief executive of national domestic violence charity Refuge: “It is an outrage that such offensive t-shirts were put on sale. Domestic violence takes the lives of two women a week – it is no laughing matter. For 40 years Refuge has challenged negative social attitudes yet these t-shirts perpetuate ignorance and misunderstanding. Shame on Topman.”

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