Urban Outfitters lives up to its reputation

By Laurie Bennett

September 16, 2014 at 9:14am

Once again, Urban Outfitters is in the news for an offensive product.

This time, it’s an Ohio State sweatshirt that appeared to be bloodstained, conjuring the 1970 shootings that killed four students and wounded nine others.

Kent State sweatshirt

The item was reported on BuzzFeed and raised a din on Twitter and Facebook.

The company issued an apology, saying it “was never our intention to allude to the tragic events.”

Public outrage might not have reached such a pitch were it not for the company’s record of selling questionable merchandise and the conservative politics of its billionaire founder.

Over the years, the retailer has managed to insult gays, Irish-Americans, Navajos, Mexicans and Jews.

Founder and Chairman Richard Hayne and his wife, Margaret, own about 20 percent of the stock, according to company’s most recent proxy statement. The major outside investor is Blackrock, Inc.

Despite his company’s appeal to young hipsters, Hayne is a regular contributor to Republican committees and candidates. In 2012, he gave $50,000 to Romney Victory Inc., a committee raising money for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

Haynes also started a family foundation in 1996, yet has reported no grantmaking in recent years.

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