Irish-Americans' fury over 'arrogant and disrespectful' novelty St Patrick's Day T-shirts at Urban Outfitters
It is rarely disputed that the Irish enjoy a drop or two of Guinness on St Patrick's Day.
The country, known for its jovial pubs and fondness for celebration, is used to being associated with merriment – but when it comes to being labelled as 'drunken', some see it as a derogatory step too far.
Urban Outfitters have offended a swathe of Irish-Americans who have not taken a range of St Patrick's Day T-shirts, mostly featuring jokes about drunkenness, lightly.
In bad taste: America's largest Irish American group has sent a letter to Urban Outfitters calling for the range to be pulled from stores
The bright green statement tees have a range of loud slogans and images printed in their fronts.
'Kiss Me, I'm drunk, or Irish, or whatever', reads one, costing $24.
A $20 cap depicts a man vomiting and is accompanied by the statement 'Irish Yoga: Downward facing upchuck.'
A second tee, $24, is glaringly unsubtle: 'I'm a F****** Leprechaun' it says, the obscenity's 'U' replaced by a four-leaf clover.
The largest Irish-American organisation in the U.S., the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America, is far from pleased with the garments, reports My Fox NY.
A joke The items are said to be 'fueling stereotypes that many Irish-Americans, as well as the people of Ireland, work so hard to dispel'
Seamus Boyle wrote: 'There are those few who use this day as an excuse to over celebrate but that does not give you or anyone else the right to defame and debase a whole race of people by selling the garbage that you display in your stores.'
He threatened a boycott and went on: 'If this is the way you must make your money by debasing a whole race of people I can assure you that with over 40 million people in this country claiming Irish ancestry they will not be your customers after this display of arrogance and disrespect to a whole nation.'
million people in this country claiming Irish ancestry… will not be
your customers after this display of arrogance'
In New York, nine members of the Congressional Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs have joined New York congressman Joe Crowley and penned a letter to Urban Outfitters' CEO expressing their indignation at the green-hued range.
According to Fashionista, the group
say, while intended in good humour, the items are 'fueling stereotypes
that many Irish-Americans, as well as the people of Ireland, work so
hard to dispel.'
They go so far as to say the retailer
is guilty of 'stereotyping and denigration' and implores Ted Marlow to
pull the range from stores.
But not everybody is so critical of the once-yearly rack-fillers.
One 29-year-old Irish writer based in
Manhattan told MailOnline that she saw no problem with the novelty tees.
'It's a joke,’ she said.
Offended Not everyone fails to laugh at the range. One Irish woman told MailOnline that 'people are just taking things way too seriously'
‘Those T-shirts are sold all over New York every year and even in Ireland. People are just taking things way too seriously.
'Yes, it’s a broad generalisation of Irish people drinking too much, but a lot of us probably do. I wore one of those T-shirts myself last year, and everyone loved it.’
The controversial items come hot on the heels of a batch of patterned garments that the retailer recently labelled 'Navajo' style. The company is now being sued by the Navajo Nation for the 'derogatory and scandalous' designs which include a liquor flask.
Nor is it the first time that St Patrick's Day has inadvertently caused offense. Last year, Mayor Bloomberg was forced to apologise to Irish- Americans after recalling that he was 'used to seeing inebriated Irish hanging out the windows' during the St Patrick's Day parade.