Online outrage over 'Drunk Lives Matter' St. Paddy's Day shirts
Published Thursday, March 16, 2017 6:42PM EDT Last Updated Friday, March 17, 2017 2:59PM EDT
Amazon has come under fire for selling apparel for St. Patrick’s Day featuring the slogan “Drunk Lives Matter.”
The slogan references the Black anti-violence and racism protest movement that emerged following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in 2012.
“This shirt is racist and bigoted. It belittles two ethnic groups, the Irish and Blacks. It also makes fun of a disability called alcoholism. I am disgusted that Amazon carries such a product. Shame on you, Amazon!,” wrote one reviewer on the e-commerce giant’s U.S. site.
i went to an early st. patrick's day bar crawl last weekend and they said my ticket came with a "drunk lives matter" shirt but i refused— NickerDoodle (@OneTrickTofani) March 15, 2017
Dude in bright green shamrock laden "drunk lives matter" shirt is lucky he didn't go in a porta potty so i could knock it over onto the door— SüßwasserLeah (@suesswassersee) March 13, 2017
Meanwhile in Halifax, an old St. Patrick’s Day slogan has taken on a new and offensive meaning for some residents.
Halifax-based clothing retailer Pseudio recently removed shirts reading “Kiss Me I’m Irish,” but with the world “Irish” crossed out and replaced with “Drunk,” from its store shelves.
It’s drawn fresh offense in light of the recent trial of a Halifax cab driver who was accused of sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman in the back of his taxi.
Pseudio has apologized for selling the shirts, issuing a written statement acknowledging the “sensitive nature of this topic.” The company said it removed the clothing from its stores after receiving complaints through social media.
Dalhousie University marketing professor Edward McHugh said the controversy illustrates the need for companies to be cognisant of how customers will contextualize attempts at humour.
“Considering the very high-profile case we just had in Halifax that got national and international coverage, you almost have to rethink your merchandising strategy and pull anything that might be offensive to people,” he told CTV Atlantic.
Carmella Farahbakhsh of The South House Sexual and Gender Resource Centre is said the T-shirt trivializes the important issue of consent.
“It just encourages an ongoing disbelief of people who have experienced sexualized violence,” she said.
With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Kelland Sundahl