ADL Calls on Urban Outfitters to Pull Tapestry Evoking Holocaust Prisoner Apparel

This isn't the first time the retailer has come under fire for controversial designs.

Urban Outfitters tapestry evoking Holocaust prisoner apparel, February 2015
An Urban Outfitters tapestry evoking Holocaust prisoner apparel. In February 2015, the ADL asked the retailer to pull the item off its shelves. Courtesy ADL

The Anti-Defamation League again called out Urban Outfitters, the U.S. clothing-and-lifestyle-merchandise retailer, this time asking the chain to pull from its shelves a tapestry with a design that evokes apparel worn in the Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

The tapestry "is 'eerily reminiscent' of the … gray and white stripes and pink triangles that gay male prisoners were forced to wear" in the camps, ADL said in a Monday statement.

“Whether intentional or not, this gray and white striped pattern and pink triangle combination is deeply offensive and should not be mainstreamed into popular culture,” said Abraham H. Foxman, the group's national director, who is a Holocaust survivor.

ADL said it sent a letter to the retailer's president and chief executive, Richard A. Hayne, expressing concern about the company's use of Holocaust imagery.

Urban Outfitters could not be immediately reached for comment.

A screenshot from Business Insider comparing the Urban Outfitters tapestry with a uniform gay male Nazi concentration camp prisoners were forced to wear.

In April 2012, ADL called out Urban Outfitters for selling a t-shirt with a patch that resembled the yellow Star of David worn by Jews during the Holocaust.

ADL said it then "welcomed an explanation from the Danish company which designed it that the shirt was never meant for sale."

Business Insider noted a number of other controversial clothing items from Urban Outfitters:

One, reported by BuzzFeed, was a Kent State University sweatshirt spattered with red. The Ohio college was the site of a 1970 killing of four antiwar protesters by the National Guard. 

A graphic T-shirt from the retailer pictured Jesus holding a mug of beer with the phrasing, "Jesus, I'm drunk."

BitterWallet reported that the company sold women's T-shirts with the word "depression" all over it in various fonts.

And BI flagged Urban Outfitters' socks featuring the Hindu god of wisdom, Lord Ganesh. The chain was criticized by a Hindu group, which said the socks were an affront to members of the faith.

More recently, in August 2014, the Spanish fashion retailer Zara removed from its Israeli and other websites a striped "sheriff" T-shirt that is reminiscent of the striped shirts Holocaust prisoners donned in Nazi concentration camps.