I noticed a story on the commute to work this morning regarding Topshop and a misconstrued product of theirs hitting headlines.
When I saw the shirt I won’t lie, I can 100% see how it’s been taken badly (after I openly spoke out about the H&M crisis being nothing more than an overreaction). The shirt is (Liverpool) red, it’s styled like a football shirt and it boasts a big 96 on the back with the caption ‘what goes around comes around’ accompanied with ‘karma’ on the sleeve.
My first thoughts were ‘who on Earth is on Topman’s PR team and how did this ever find its way on to the organisation’s website?
I’m sure that someone, somewhere could have made the connection – I did, and a lot of others seemed to as well. One Twitter user quite rightly said ‘this is the perfect example of how little people know about one of the biggest sporting tragedies and its cover up’.
As always – I don’t think the brand did this intentionally (nobody is that shallow right?) but what I do think is that this is a product which people have the utmost right to take in the wrong way. With the H&M incident, I think it was nothing more than people actually wanting to be offended by it (even the mother of the child told people they were ridiculous) but this, this is an entirely different ball game.
Hillsborough is an incredibly sensitive topic even to this day, families who lost loved ones are still campaigning for justice and I don’t doubt that this has circulated a lot of offence.
Topman have done the right thing by pulling the shirt from sale, but something more is definitely in order if this brand want to salvage their reputation. Apologies are definitely needed and perhaps even a donation to the cause may be a good idea at this point.
It is undoubtably clear that the brand should take full responsibility. Yes, it was taken in bad taste, and probably didn’t hone the intentions of offence. However, this shirt is clearly offensive to those who have been affected by it and there’s no denying it had all the qualities to allow it be taken so.
In short and in the bluntest way possible, it’s time for Topman to apologise (and definitely do some research before allowing their products to go on sale in future).