EBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) has brought down a Kent State sweatshirt from its listings, citing a policy against the selling of items linked to disasters or tragedies. The sweatshirt, which looked like it was stained with blood, had generated lots of controversies from several quarters, leading to eBay’s action.
EBay takes “proactive measures to identify listings that violate our policies, including but not limited to keyword filters and monitoring tools,” Ryan Moore, a eBay spokesman said in an e-mail.
The seller is said to have purchased the sweatshirt from Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN) after realizing that it was generating controversies before trying to auction it on EBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) website for $2,500. The seller, who had pledged half of his profits from the sale to the Southern Poverty Law Center, had listed the item even before receiving it from Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN).
The controversies surrounding the red stained sweatshirt weren’t about the price or its vintage look, but more because it reignites memories of the 1970 “Kent State Massacre” that left four students dead in cold blood.
Following the outrage, Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN) quickly issued an apology saying that they had just listed the item as part of their rare vintage collections. The company also clarified that what looked like blood splattered on the sweatshirt were actually discoloration from “natural wear and fray.”
Kent State University did not take the listing lightly. In an email statement, the university administration lashed out at the decision to have the sweatshirt listed for sale.
“We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit. This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today,” read the statement.
This article has been written by Victor Ochieng.