ONLINE retailer Amazon last night withdrew T-shirts advocating domestic violence from its website after worldwide condemnation.
The company pulled tops – manufactured by the Solid Gold Bomb T-shirt company – with the slogan “Keep Calm And Hit Her” and “Keep Calm and Choke Her” from the site.
A day earlier they were forced to withdraw tops that said “Keep Calm And Rape Them”, also made by the same company.
A spokesman for Amazon UK said that all offensive garments had been pulled. “I can confirm that those items are not available for sale,” he said.
Other offensive statements discovered on the UK website – but now withdrawn – included “Keep Calm And Grope On” and “Keep Calm And Grope A Lot”.
The T-shirts were condemned by advocates against violence against women and for gender equality.
Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale said: “This is absolutely disgusting. Fundamentally it is about equality – for as long as society thinks it’s OK to sell ‘rape her’ T-shirts, joke about groping, and wolf whistle at women going to work, we can hardly be surprised that our parliaments remain pale, male and stale, that women live in fear walking their own streets and the pay gap perpetuates. Taking Amazon on and defeating them is key to progressing towards gender equality – something I hope will be achieved in my lifetime.”
Dugdale last year forced Amazon to remove separate “For Him” and “For Her” gift lists featuring animal calendars, baking books and celebrity biographies for women and business books, political biographies and sports calendars for men after complaining to its chief executive about gender stereotyping.
Amazon customers yesterday took to the company’s social network pages to complain about the offensive T-shirts.
One said: “Do the decent thing and pull this disgusting item now. Remove all items by the same company to show them this will not be tolerated.”
Another online customer, Jody, said: “You’re on a roll now Amazon. So not content with supporting and encouraging rape, you’re also advocating violence against women.
“Domestic violence is a crime. Real men don’t beat their partners.”
Meanwhile, Labour deputy leader Lord Prescott, tweeted: “First Amazon avoids paying UK tax. Now they’re make money from domestic violence.”
An e-petition was set up titled “Amazon: Stop Encouraging Gropers”, while Labour MP Roberta Blackman-Woods tweeted that “these amazon t shirts are terrible & we must speak out against them”.
Amazon listed the manufacturing quality of the rape T-shirts as “Fine Jersey T-Shirt”, saying the items were made by American Apparel prior to printing in the US.
Solid Gold Bomb claimed the T-shirts were down to a computer error. Withdrawing the “rape” garment it released a statement which said: “We have been informed of the fact that we were selling an offensive T-shirt primarily in the UK.
“This has been immediately deleted as it was and had been automatically generated using a scripted computer process running against 100s of thousands of dictionary words.”
Solid Gold Bomb said it received death threats and its Twitter account was bombarded with angry messages – many of which said: “Rape is not a joke.”
Solid Gold Bomb replied: “We’re sorry for the ill-feeling this has caused! We’re doing our best here to fix the problem.”
Its Facebook and Twitter accounts have since been shut down. It said the scripted programming process that created the slogan was compiled by “only one member of our staff”, but that it “accepted the responsibility of the error”.
Solid Gold Bomb said it sells its T-shirts throughout the US, UK, Germany, Canada and 79 other countries.