Clothing company faces backlash for ‘LGBT’ swastika shirts

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A clothing company is facing backlash after it created swastika shirts in an attempt to promote LGBT inclusivity.

KA design released the shirts which feature the swastikas with the words “peace”, “zen” and “love” on Teespring.

Clothing company faces backlash for ‘LGBT’ swastika shirts

In a description of the shirts, the company wrote that they were reclaiming the symbol to represent LGBT people.

“They stigmatised the swastika. They won. They limited our freedom. Or maybe not? The swastika is coming back together with love, peace, respect and freedom,” the description read.

A spokesperson for KA Design said that they wanted to “share the beauty” of the swastika.

“We really like the symbol in its shape and aesthetics, and we would love to share the beauty of this symbol detached from the hatred associated with it,” they said.

The shirts have been met with backlash.

Dr Dvir Abramovich, the chair of the Anti-defamation Commission said that they were “outraged” by the clothing item.

“I am outraged and shocked that any company would seek to profit from selling such reprehensible items.

“The swastika does not represent the LGBTI community, whose members were the victims of Hitler’s evil regime. And no, it cannot be rebranded as a symbol of peace.

“KA’s naïve, and in many ways, selfish attitude shows a staggering lack of concern for the feelings of those who survived the Holocaust and those who lost relatives to the monstrous deeds of the Third Reich,”

Dr Abramovich added that neo-nazism was still too prevalent in society for the swastika to be used positively as “white supremacists are proud to frequently deploy the swastika as a weapon to harass and victimise Jewish communities and minorities”.

The swastika symbol is derived from a Hindu symbol which stands for good luck. However, traditionally the Hindu symbol is seen as square and with dots but the Nazi symbol was turned on its side in the shape of a diamond – the same design that Teespring has used.

A spokesperson for Teespring condemned the shirts and said that KA Designs is “in no way affiliated with Teespring and does not reflect the company’s views.”

“The moment Teespring was made aware of the design, it was removed from the site. No t-shirts were sold to consumers and Teespring did not profit from this design in any way.

“Teespring would like to apologize for this incident and is taking action to ensure this does not happen again in the future,” they said.

Teespring stands in solidarity with those who took offence to this design and in a show of support, the company will be making a donation to Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Center.

On Twitter, people expressed outrage at the poorly thought out design.

One person wrote: “The swastika is a symbol of hate and mass murder. Having it rainbow coloured doesn’t change that.”

“This is not a good look. Peace Swastika is not a thing. Some things can’t & shouldn’t be rebranded,” another said.

Many people have called for a global boycott of the brand “until @teespring grows a brain & stops selling nazi swastika shirts”.

The shirts have since been removed from the website following the backlash.