Does the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity still hold true? Urban Outfitters is in the hot seat over a “vintage” Kent State sweatshirt that appeared as though it had blood splatters across it.

The apology

The company posted an apology on twitter shortly after the first media stories about backlash to the sweatshirt began to surface on Monday: “It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such. The one-of-a-kind item was purchased as part of our sun-faded vintage collection. There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray.” The item was also removed from the Urban Outfitters website.

Social media outrage

But the twitterverse was only further enraged, and as Tim Herrera wrote in a blog in the Washington Post, it’s not the first time Urban Outfitters has received bad publicity for posting a widely offensive item for sale, just to issue a brief apology after controversy exploded.

With several similar incidents in its past, it’s hard to accept the official corporate apology at face value. What do you think? Was Oscar Wilde right when he wrote that “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about”?