A T-SHIRT retailer has drawn criticism after its decision to sell shirts featuring rainbow swastika designs.
Teespring made the shirts by KA design available on its website, featuring swastikas alongside the words ‘peace’, ‘zen’ and ‘love’.
Suggesting the symbol could be reclaimed to represent the LGBTI community, the company wrote, “They stigmatised the swastika. They won. They limited our freedom. Or maybe not? The swastika is coming back together with love, peace, respect and freedom.”
“We really like the symbol in its shape and aesthetics, and we would love to share the beauty of this symbol detached from the hatred associated with it,” said a company representative.
The swastika shirts were poorly received.
“I am outraged and shocked that any company would seek to profit from selling such reprehensible items,” said Dr Dvir Abramovich, chair of the Anti-Defamation Commission.
“No, the swastika does not represent the LGBTI community, whose members were the victims of Hitler’s evil regime. And no, it cannot be rebranded as a symbol of peace.
“KA’s naïve, and in many ways, selfish attitude shows a staggering lack of concern for the feelings of those who survived the Holocaust, and those who lost relatives to the monstrous deeds of the Third Reich.
“Neo-nazis today commit violent crimes and through the defacement of public property with this insignia of industrialised extermination seek to instil fear in the hearts of their victims. In fact, white supremacists are proud to frequently deploy the swastika as a weapon to harass and victimise Jewish communities and minorities.”
The Anti-Defamation Commission called on Teespring to withdraw the shirts.
Social media was also awash with complaints about the designs, with some calling for a boycott of Teespring until the shirts were removed.
“Some things can’t and shouldn’t be rebranded,” tweeted one person.
Another called the shirts “obscene and disgusting.”
“The swastika is a symbol of hate and mass murder,” wrote another person. “Having it rainbow coloured doesn’t change that.”
Following the backlash, Teespring appears to have removed the shirt designs within hours.