US retailer apologises and stops selling 'offensive' St Patrick's Day t-shirt after deluge of complaints from Irish people
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US retailer apologises and stops selling 'offensive' St Patrick's Day t-shirt after deluge of complaints from Irish people

AMERICAN clothing firm J.Crew has withdrawn an "offensive" St Patrick's Day t-shirt from sale and issued an apology after the item caused a backlash online.

The grey garment featured a stylised map of the Republic of Ireland with words such as "beer", "whiskey" and "more beer" emblazoned across it.

However, most of the anger on social media was directed towards the glaring omission of the six counties of Northern Ireland from the design.

The t-shirt had been available on the J.Crew Factory website for $11.50 (€10/£9).

In a statement given to The Irish Post, J.Crew apologised for "any unintended offence" the item may have caused and said it was no longer for sale.

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"This product has been removed from sale and we regret any unintended offence it may have caused," a spokesman for the retailer said.

The backlash began when the t-shirt caught the attention of Twitter user Francis X Kennedy. who wrote: "Hey, @jcrew, it’s great that you’re doing an Irish t-shirt for St Patrick’s Day, but this is offensive, bordering on obnoxious, for a couple of reasons.

"I’ll let you figure it out for yourselves, but showing the design to any Irish person would have helped."

The tweet received over 1,700 likes and sparked complaints from dozens of others over the design's exclusion of the North, as well as its stereotyping of Irish people ahead of St Patrick's Day.

St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is thought to have first arrived in the country at Slemish Mountain and died in Downpatrick - areas of Northern Ireland not shown on the t-shirt.

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Founded in 1947, New York City-based J.Crew operates more than 450 stores across the United States and describes itself as a "multi-brand, multi-channel, specialty retailer" offering an assortment of women's, men's and children's apparel.

This isn't the first time that a clothing item has caused outrage for omitting Northern Ireland from a map.

Reebok was forced to apologise in 2015 when it also left out the six counties of the North from one of its t-shirts, putting the gaffe down to a "design error" and removing the product from sale on its website.