Urban Outfitters apologises for insulting Hindus
Street fashion store Urban Outfitters has recently found itself in trouble again after insulting the Hindu community on the brand’s US website.
The online shop sold “Lord Ganesh” socks with an image of the Hindu god on the ankle. The socks were branded as an exclusive and “awesome” design by the brand, and were part of a three for $20 offer that included a similar design with an image of Jesus.
Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, believes the items are highly inappropriate and offensive, suggesting corporations send senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity before launching new advertising campaigns.
Zed also explained Lord Ganesh is highly revered in Hinduism and is meant to be worshipped and not to be wrapped around one’s foot. Such trivialisation of Lord Ganesh was disturbing to Hindus the world over.
“Hindus believe in free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else, if not more. But faith is something sacred and attempts at trivialising it hurt the followers,” explains a statement on Zed’s blog.
Crystal Carroll, public relations manager of Urban Outfitters, apologised in response to Zed’s complaint and has since removed the socks from sale online and in stores.
“We sincerely apologise if we offended the Hindu community and our customers,” Carroll said in a statement. “We appreciate Rajan Zed and the Universal Society of Hinduism for bringing this matter to our attention and for helping us understand the cultural and religious sensitivities this product carries.”
This is by no means Urban Outfitters’ first public outrage. The brand has been targeted as being homophobic and was asked by political leaders earlier this year to remove drink flasks in the shape of pill bottles. Urban Outfitters is also in an ongoing feud in the US with the Navajo Nation, who accused the brand of copyright infringement in 2012, when the tribe’s geometric print was reproduced by the brand.
To shop Urban Outfitters’ less offensive items, click here.