Tags: upside | down | american | flag | t-shirt | protest

PacSun Stops Selling Upside-Down Flag T-Shirt After Online Heat

By    |   Monday, 25 May 2015 07:27 PM

Pacific Sunwear has stopped selling a T-shirt featuring an upside-down American flag following an online backlash.

"As a retailer grounded in youth culture, PacSun values artistic and creative expression through the brands that we sell in our stores," the company wrote on its Facebook page Monday afternoon. "Out of respect for those who have put their lives on the line for our country, we have decided to stop selling the licensed flag t-shirt and are removing it from our stores and website immediately. We thank the men and women in uniform for their extraordinary service."

The backlash occurred earlier Monday when a Florida woman expressed anger over seeing the shirt as part of PacSun's Memorial Day sale.

Rachel Zawacki-Kuss took a photo of the shirt displayed on a mannequin at the Pacific Sunwear store at Tanger Outlets in Foley, Alabama and attached it to a Facebook message to the company.

"I understand freedom of speech but this shirt, displayed prominently at the entrance of your store, for Memorial Day weekend is more distasteful and disrespectful than anything I thought I'd see," Zawacki-Kuss wrote. "I will not be shopping at PacSun again."

Comments supporting Zawacki-Kuss flooded in from veterans and others. Some supporters attached her photo to comments on PacSun's Facebook posts promoting its Memorial Day sale.

Other commenters were critical of Zawacki-Kuss. She said in a post on her own Facebook page that she refused to engage in the debate since she simply wanted the company to know how she felt – not enter into a debate on the merits of the shirt.

"My point in posting the picture I had taken, and writing what I did, was to bring to the company's attention that during a holiday weekend intended to honor military members who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country, it was not the ideal time to bring that shirt front and center," he wrote. "The American Flag is a symbol of freedom that they fought and died for. Seeing the flag used that way was incredibly upsetting to me. THAT IS ALL I WAS SAYING. It's my choice to shop elsewhere. The display was in bad taste, it was disrespectful and insensitive to the sacrifices that have been made by so many service members."

Others have the right to wear any clothing they choose, she said.

"My problem is not so much the shirt itself, although I would never wear it, it was the way it was prominently displayed for the 'Memorial Day Sale,'" she said.

According to USA Today, the shirt was "apparently designed in a collaboration with rapper A$AP Rocky." It has an anarchy symbol on one sleeve and sells for $23.95, though it was listed as "Buy 1 Get 50% Off" on Monday.

Possibly a result of bad reviews because of Monday's backlash, the shirt had only a cumulative two-star rating out of five stars.

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Pacific Sunwear has stopped selling a T-shirt featuring an upside-down American flag following an online backlash.
upside, down, american, flag, t-shirt, protest
Monday, 25 May 2015 07:27 PM
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