PacSun pulls 'unpatriotic' T-shirt after controversy

May 26, 2015 at 12:45 p.m. ET
Image: PacSun

A controversial T-shirt sold recently at PacSun is causing a lot of people to boycott the store. The image — an upside-down American flag — is causing some people to have fits, saying it is disrespectful and cruel. But really? Is it?

The shirt, a black ti-shirt with a white printed image of the American flag upside down, was apparently in the display window at PacSun when an angry customer took to social media.

Florida resident Rachel Zawacki-Kuss, posted a picture on her social media page with this: 

Saw this at your location at Tanger Outlets this morning in Foley, Alabama. I understand freedom of speech but this shirt, displayed prominently at the entrance of your store, for Memorial Day weekend is more distasteful and disrespectful than anything I thought I'd see. I will not be shopping at PacSun again

So, fine. She found it offensive. But many on her page pointed out (and rightly so) that the flag flying upside down indicates a country in distress. Nothing more. Nothing less. So what's so wrong with that?

To care about this country, are we never supposed to question it? I actually would say that for many intellectuals, questioning is a huge part of respect and love. It is entirely possible to support the troops and still question why they are being sent away and really only want to go to war when it matters. When we have to.

More: PacSun's Facebook gets taken over by upset war veterans (PHOTOS)

But even so, that's not the point. The point is, what's so wrong with a t-shirt? There isn't only one way to honor our fallen military. There isn't only one way to do most things. So why get upset about a t-shirt?

PacSun has apparently pulled the shirt. They didn't want to make a statement, it seems and found it easier to pull it. But to me, it seems like a shame that a company should have to pull a shirt for this. There are plenty of offensive t-shirts out there. This doesn't seem like one of them. Personally, I'd rather buy shirts from a company willing to stand by their products.

More: Memorial Day: More than just a long weekend

There are plenty of offensive shirts out there — think naked women or sexist messages or any number of disgusting things — that people wear proudly. I see nothing wrong with a political statement, even if it's one I don't happen to agree with. There was nothing wrong with this shirt.

Fashion has always been about making a statement. And then when someone does, everyone gets upset. It just seems wrong.

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