Forever 21 blasted for selling 'anti-consent' T-shirt

Mar 14, 2016 at 6:29 p.m. ET

Quick question: Who at Forever 21 thought anything about this shirt was a good idea?

The popular fast fashion retailer is getting some (much-deserved) flak for selling a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase "Don't say maybe if you want to say no." Did no one — not even one person — recognize a potential problem before approving this T-shirt?

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The aggressive men's T-shirt has definite violent undertones that perpetuate the idea that "maybe" equals "yes" when it comes to sexual consent.

And let's not kid ourselves: This is exactly what the T-shirt implies. There is no other potential meaning, even if some will argue that it's just a humorous shirt not unlike a billion others sold in stores and online.

But there's a big difference between tees like "You know I'm right" — another shirt available at Forever 21 — and this offensive one.

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The retailer responded by pulling it from the website and issued a statement saying the company strives to exemplify the highest ethical standards and takes feedback and product concerns very seriously.

"With regards to the T-shirt in question, upon receiving feedback from our customers, we took immediate action to have it removed from our website," a Forever 21 rep said in a statement. "We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by the product."

Pulling clothing for offensive phrases happens with some disturbing frequency. We'd much rather companies that cater to younger people (like Forever 21) be proactive — instead of reactive — when it comes to these sorts of products that have seriously problematic meanings.

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