This is certainly not the first T-shirt controversy the fashion retail industry has seen. Although Urban Outfitters is usually the biggest offender (ie: The Kent University blood-stained shirt scandal or the “Eat Less” T-Shirt), PacSun has really stirred the pot.
image via Twitter
The shirt in question portrays an upside down American flag. In case you did not know (I, admittedly, did not), an upside down flag is a sign of distress. According to U.S. code, “The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.”
Many felt the upside down flag T-shirt was blatantly offensive and disrespectful to our country and those who fought for it. Some shoppers decided to boycott the store and trend #BoycottPacsun on Twitter.
@PacSun You disgrace this nation selling a t-shirt depicting the US flag upside down as in distress. #BoycottPacSun
— J Michael O’Connor (@jmichaeloconnor) May 25, 2015
While it seems the majority was incredibly offended at the shirt, many did not care or did not see the problem and wanted to own this controversial garment. A handful of people even supported PacSun’s selling of the shirt saying that America is in distress and the design is rightfully printed.
“@PacSun: We will stop selling licensed flag T-shirt. http://t.co/qMV3rpL3nR” US is in distress and u should sell these. Don’t back down.
— Kathreen k (@luvbrasco) May 26, 2015
PacSun pulled the shirt from shelves and the company’s website amidst all of the controversies and large amounts of complaints. People are still complaining that PacSun “gave in” and that the shirt should be sold because it is true that the country is in distress. Others defended the garment with the belief that artistic freedom should prevail.
Some veterans even defended PacSun saying they don’t find it offensive and they do believe America is in distress. Others are still complaining that this removal of the T-shirt was “too little, too late”.
To sum up the story: PacSun did a thing, got a ton of publicity (there’s no such thing as bad publicity!) and there is no way for them to not offend anyone at this point. The damage has already been done and everyone’s still quite salty about it.