Urban Outfitters CEO to employees: Kent State sweatshirt sale an ‘unfortunate occurrence’

The clothing brand’s chief executive, Dick Hayne, wrote in an email that the controversial, ‘vintage’ clothing item wasn’t bloodstained, but simply faded.

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In an email to employees, Urban Outfitters CEO Dick Hayne calls the recent uproar over a red-blotched, “vintage” Kent State University sweatshirt an “unfortunate occurrence,” but he doesn’t offer many suggestions for keeping it from happening again.

Over the weekend, the clothing brand posted the distressed sweatshirt for sale on its website, promoting it as a one-of-a-kind item.

Many social media observers and bloggers said the sweatshirt was a clear allusion to the 1970 campus shootings at Kent State and that the red blotches on the shirt resembled bloodstains. Kent State issued a statement in which officials said they took “great offense” to the promotion and sale of the sweatshirt.

Urban Outfitters has maintained that the sweatshirt was never meant to have a connection to the shootings, in which the Ohio National Guard fired on students protesting the Vietnam War, killing four.

Hayne’s email, which Gawker released Wednesday, maintains that line:

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