WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) joined the Anti-Defamation League in calling out retailer Urban Outfitters for selling a striped tapestry featuring a single pink triangle, an unmistakable echo of uniforms Nazis issued to suspected gay male concentration camp prisoners.
"Urban Outfitters has seized yet again on imagery of the Holocaust, one of the most abhorrent chapters in world history, in an appalling effort to attract attention," said Fred Sainz, Vice President for Communications at HRC, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) civil rights organization. "This is an affront to LGBT people, Holocaust survivors, their families, and anyone with an ounce of humanity."
The tapestry is made of a gray-and-white striped fabric, imprinted with a bright pink triangle that mirrors badges Nazis forced suspected gay male prisoners to wear. LGBT rights advocates appropriated the pink triangle nearly four decades ago, transforming it into an iconic image of the movement.
This is not Urban Outfitters' first foray into the realm of the tasteless and cruel. In 2012, the retailer marketed a t-shirt featuring a yellow star that echoed the identifying Star of David patch Jewish people were forced to wear under the Nazi regime. That same year, the Navajo Nation sued the retailer over its use of the "Navajo" name in a line of clothing and accessories, including items the tribe found distasteful and racially demeaning.
And just so there's no mistaking how low Urban Outfitters will stoop: last year, it sold a "Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt' that featured fake blood stains. For those too young to remember, in 1970, four unarmed students were killed, and nine other people wounded, when guardsman in opened fire on war protesters.
The company ultimately apologized for "any offense" the item may have caused.
"This retailer has repeatedly embraced the abhorrent, the racist, the bigoted," Sainz said. "We urge them to reject this strategy, to apologize and keep this kind of offensive merchandise off their shelves."
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.