Urban Outfitters CEO Sent This Email About the ‘Bloody’ Kent State Sweatshirt


The ever-indefatigable Gawker got its hands on an email Urban Outfitters’ CEO Dick Hayne sent to staffers after offering for sale a mock-bloody Kent State University sweatshirt. It’s… something.

Dear Folks,

In the last 24 hours we have received a lot of negative publicity and many of you have received communication from friends, family members or those outside the URBN community regarding a Kent State sweatshirt for sale on urbanoutfitters.com that was mistakenly identified as ‘bloody’. We wanted to address this with our community and provide some ‘facts’.

Despite what has been reported, the sweatshirt in question is a vintage item and there is only one. We purchased it from the Rose Bowl Flea Market in an assorted lot of 50 other sweatshirts from other colleges and universities across the country. All were well worn and many were ‘distressed’. We photographed them as purchased, including the Kent State sweatshirt, and posted for sale on our website as part of our sun-faded vintage collection.

The condition of the Kent State sweatshirt pictured is as we bought it. There is no blood on it, and we certainly never promoted it as such. The discoloration that some mistook for blood is from natural fading and bleaching. Once the negative feedback was brought to our attention, we removed the item immediately from sale and sent an apology letter to Kent State University.

Vintage items are part of the heritage of the Urban brand and differentiate us from other retailers. We are proud of the Urban Renewal concept and believe that the vintage buyers have done an outstanding job in giving our customers what they want. Customer feedback on this type of product has been consistently positive. We will continue to offer these one-of-a-kind items and feel the recent confusion over the Kent State sweatshirt is an unfortunate occurrence.

I hope this adds some clarity to the ‘stories’ being promulgated by some in the news and on social media sites. Thank you for your understanding.

Warm regards,

Dick Hayne

I really enjoy Hayne’s outraged tone in the letter. I’m the one who should be offended here, he lectures. He’s essentially saying there was nothing offensive about the t-shirt the store sold. He even puts “stories” in quotes as if this isn’t the latest in years-long history of similar stunts.

No word if Hayne is going to have an explanation for selling a decades-old stained sweatshirt for $130.