The 10 Most Controversial Urban Outfitters Products

Urban Outfitters, a company run by prominent conservative donor Richard Hayne, is known as a purveyor of hipster products for trendy teens. The retail chain is also known for creating controversy, with products intended to shock (and often offend). Here are just a few of the most head-turning products that the company has released.

1. “Eat Less” T-shirt

After Urban Outfitters released this T-shirt marked with the words “Eat Less” on the front, Sophia Bush, who is an advocate for promoting healthy body images for women, decided to publicly boycott the entire company.

2. Pro-booze shirts

Last summer, Urban Outfitters sold a line of T-shirts with blurred-lettered slogans such as “I Vote For Vodka,” “USA Drinking Team,” and “I Drink You’re Cute,” despite the fact that the second largest demographic that frequents the clothing chain is younger than 18.

3. Prescription-themed products

After Urban Outfitters released a series of several prescription-related products, including coffee mugs covered in prescription labels and syringe shot shooters, American Association of Poison Control Centers President Marsha Ford wrote to Urban Outfitters CEO Richard Hayne on behalf of her organization, arguing that the items promoted the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. After the complaints, Urban Outfitters discontinued the line.

4. “Victimized” T-shirt

In 2008, Urban Outfitters sold a men’s T-shirt with a blatant anti-Israel message, portraying an armed Palestinian youth accompanied by the word “Victimized.” A barrage of complaints ensued, with claims that the shirt was glorifying child abuse and exploitation as well as terrorism. 

5. “Ghettopoly”

When Urban Outfitters sold a knockoff Monopoly game called “Ghettopoly,” with properties such as “Cheap Trick Avenue” and “Hernando’s Chop Shop,” several black leaders stood in protest to the racist rendition of the classic board game.

6. “Jewish Girl” T-shirt

In 2004, Urban Outfitters released a T-shirt imprinted with the text “Everyone loves a Jewish girl” with images of shopping bags and dollar signs. It was eventually redesigned so that the offensive graphic elements were removed when the Anti-Defamation League complained that the shirt played into the "Jewish American Princess" stereotype and promoted the idea that Jews are obsessed with money.

7. St. Patrick’s Day-themed products mocking Irish drunkenness

After Urban Outfitters sold a series of St. Patrick’s Day products featuring jokes about Irish drunkenness and debauchery, the largest Irish-American organization in the U.S. lashed out against the company and threatened to boycott, claiming the products disrespected and defamed a whole race of people.

8. “New Mexico” T-shirt

Urban Outfitters sparked controversy again by releasing a T-shirt reading “New Mexico, Cleaner than Regular Mexico.” An official from the Anti-Defamation League asked the retailer to stop selling the shirt, claiming the shirt insinuated that Mexico is unclean. 

9. “Navajo” products

After Urban Outfitters used the Navajo name to describe a line of merchandise, the Navajo Nation filed a suit alleging the company had infringed its trademark and violated the federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which makes it illegal to falsely suggest that merchandise is made by Native Americans.

10. Star of David T-shirt

 


When Urban Outfitters sold a men’s T-shirt with a symbol that looked like the Star of David on the pocket, which Jews were forced to wear on their chests in Nazi Europe, the Anti-Defamation League condemned the company for their distasteful and offensive use of symbolism.