The Solicitor - The FindLaw UK Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Consumer law: Topman appeases Twitter rage by pulling offensive T-shirts

Yesterday afternoon (14 September) a public outcry on the social network site Twitter became so vociferous that it forced the high-street clothing store Topman to withdraw two T-shirts from its range, both in shops and online.

Indignant Twitter users flooded the site with messages complaining that the slogans written on the shirts were "bad taste", "disgraceful", "sexist and offensive" and "glamorising domestic violence".

The first shirt's slogan read "Nice new girlfriend. What breed is she?"

The second read "I'm so sorry, but..." and was followed with tick boxes giving the options: "You provoked me", "I was drunk", "I was having a bad day", "I hate you".

The T-shirts have been described as excusing domestic violence and being blatantly sexist.

Tender, an anti-domestic violence charity joined the outcry on Twitter and even set up a JustGiving campaign asking people to donate money to their cause rather than buy Topman's shirts.

Tender also set up a Facebook page titled sTopman, aimed at preventing the retailer from selling the offending T-shirts.

Another charity, Refuge, stated that Topman should be ashamed of their T-shirts. Chief executive Sandra Horley said: "It is an outrage that such offensive t-shirts were put on sale. Domestic violence takes the lives of two women a week - it is no laughing matter. For 40 years Refuge has challenged negative social attitudes yet these t-shirts perpetuate ignorance and misunderstanding. Shame on Topman."

Following the backlash, Topman released a statement announcing their decision to pull the T-shirts from their range.

They said: "We have received some negative feedback regarding two of our printed T-shirts. Whilst we would like to stress that these T-shirts were meant to be light-hearted and carried no serious meaning we have made the decision to remove these from store and online as soon as possible. We would like to apologise to those who may have been offended by these designs."

Related links:
Read more on the story (Telegraph)
Read about misleading or offensive advertising (FindLaw)
Find local specialist solicitors throughout the UK (FindLaw)