Rape and violence T-shirt slogans prompt outrage

One of the items as it appeared on Amazon.com. Photo / Supplied
One of the items as it appeared on Amazon.com. Photo / Supplied

Amazon was forced to apologise for selling T-shirts with slogans promoting rape and violence on its website.

The United States clothing company Solid Gold Bomb blamed an automated computer dictionary for its series of the items emblazoned with offensive phrases such as "Keep Calm and Rape a Lot" and "Keep Calm and Hit Her", based on the much reproduced "Keep Calm and Carry On" World War II poster.

Both companies were bombarded with complaints and Solid Gold Bomb later closed its Twitter account. The T-shirts remained on sale in Germany.

One of the slogans was taken down but others, including "Keep Calm and Knife Her" and "Keep Calm and Punch Her" remained on Solid Gold Bomb's website yesterday afternoon - the company said they were all in a "deletion queue".

Amazon deleted most of the offensive "Keep Calm" range yesterday but continued to promote the company's shop. Solid Gold Bomb, a label of Harold Ross Inc, based in Massachusetts, said the graphics for the T-shirts were the result of "a scripted computer process" which generated hundreds of slogans based on formulaic dictionary words.

The shirts, which appeared on Amazon on Saturday, prompted an online furore.

Many of the slogans make little sense, while many of those that do are violent terms. Solid Gold Bomb did not explain how it set up such a program without considering what words might be included.

The company said it had received death threats and its Twitter account was bombarded with scores of angry messages, many of which said: "Rape is not a joke."

- Observer

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