Urban Outfitters is quickly becoming a company that’s easy for people to hate.
If they’re not being accused of ripping off independent artists on Etsy, they’re pulling items off the shelf because they’re offensive.
Another case involving the latter is making news this week—this time it’s a pair of socks that have been removed.
The socks in question (or you might say questionable socks) prominently feature the Hindu deity Ganesh.
explains why this is such a terribly offensive thing:
It’s not just that the company slapped a figure sacred to a religious group on a pair of cheaply priced socks, points out Jezebel: The human foot is considered the lowest and most impure part of the body in the Hindu culture. So putting a deity between your impure foot and your shoe is just… well it’s not cool with many in the Hindu community.
Blogger Rajan Zed was among the most vocal in calling out Urban Outfitters for its insensitivity. His post, titled “Perturbed Hindus urge Urban Outfitters to withdraw Lord Ganesh socks
,” was probably the most measured and well-put argument anyone has made in a you’ve-offended-my-entire-religion scenario.
By now, the company must have someone on retainer just to write mea culpas
as they’ve become so plentiful. Here’s a variation-on-a-theme apology from the company:
We sincerely apologize if we offended the Hindu community and our customers. 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. We will remove the Ganesh Socks immediately from our website and stores.
In a follow-up post, Zed made another good point: “Rajan Zed suggested corporations to send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they had an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when creating new products or launching advertising campaigns.”
[RELATED: Get advanced brand journalism tips from Mark Ragan and Jim Ylisela—choose from multiple cities!]
No word on whether Urban Outfitters is considering that advice.