Sunday, November 25, 2012

REMOVED FROM SITE!!! Party "GAME" sold by Urban Outfitters

UPDATE:  As printed on the Urban Outfitters Website... "We're sorry. This product is no longer available."  YAY!!  And a huge THANK YOU to Urban Outfitters!!!!!

And Thank You 9News for following up on a tip from a concerned viewer!!  You guys rock!

Please note: The party game mentioned in this blog entry and the one linked from Facebook is not manufactured by Urban Outfitters.  They sell this game.  My issues is that they have marketed this game to their demographic in such a way that  I feel it may encourage violence and reckless use of guns, and I would like to see it removed from their product offerings.  The maker of this game is Can You Imagine, inc. ( - and I'm not suggesting you boycott their products either.  In fact, they make some pretty cool stuff it looks like.  I'm contacting Can You Imagine, inc. regarding this product also.  They may not have any idea that members of the general public find this offensive and disturbing.

I find this so highly offensive that I am at a loss for words.  (Well, not exactly - I just don't know how else to get my point across.)  THIS is a "GAME" being marketed by Urban Outfitters right now:

A "GAME" called "Party Roulette" that retails for $16.00.

I am not an anti-gun advocate.  My husband owns several guns, and I do not want anyone to think what I am saying here has anything to do with the 2nd amendment.  What I happen to be disgusted with is that Urban Outfitters is selling a game of Russian roulette to young people.  How is that in any way responsible marketing?  Of course this isn't a real gun - but this is just so outrageous I can't sit back and not say anything.  I have kids; I appreciate when consumer advocacy groups create a backlash when inappropriate clothing is marketed to underage kids.  I don't agree with sexualizing our youth, I also don't agree with making a party game out of Russian roulette. 


I'm not conservative. At all. I'm understanding that retailers make mistakes. A bit of the response Urban Outfitters has received in the past has been nonsense in my opinion. I like the idea of a shirt proclaiming the support same sex marriage, and I don't at all mind that they showed two girls kissing in their catalog any more than I would mind them showing a guy and girl kissing in their catalog. Kissing pictures can be done in good taste. Most of the adverse reaction, however, has been pretty well earned. The pro-booze shirts and "USA Drinking Team" shirts marketed to consumers under 21 were in bad taste.  Color options listed as, "White/Charcoal, Obama/Black" can only be thought of as disrespectful. And they do show an anti-Semetic bent at times which is absolutely unacceptable (if you click the following link it will take you to the article outlining the ways they have crossed the line on this):  ' "If Urban Outfitters is good at something, it is getting publicity," says Ami Cohen, an American Apparel employee in Tel Aviv. "This company has a history of coming into conflict with Jews." '  (This link is a list of "11 Urban Outfitters controversies" posted by The Week in August of 2012.)

But this isn't a t-shirt.  This is a party game.  So will people be as outraged? This isn't something that our kids will be wearing - it's a game that may end up at parties they attend. Out of pure curiosity, I searched Russian roulette, and this popped up, "Teenager dies in game of Russian Roulette - the THIRD death in U.S. in four months."  This was published two days ago. This isn't fun. This is tragic - and there is a game that is basically selling it as a joke to our teenagers and young adults.

It is my feeling that this needs to stop. I don't know how to organize a recoil in response to offensive product marketing - but I'm ready to learn. I'm so offended that I'm taking this to the "court of public opinion" as my nephew phrased it. In the same way it is not OK to mock racism, offensive to mock abuse of any group, and outrageous to promote the sexualization of young people... it is barbaric to mock the senseless violence that is reckless abuse of guns and violence. The game, the picture, the mocking... it is distasteful, insulting, and ghastly. From what I can find on the internet, they have stopped selling products in the past which the public has let them know to be controversial or offensive.  I would like to see that happen here.

You may not agree with me. I respect that. Please respect my feelings too. I would be happy to expound on why I think this is so very reprehensible if someone needs more clarification.

In 1964 Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, when making a clarification on how to tell when something (pornography) is an obscenity, "I know it when I see it."

How do I know when something is profoundly offensive? I know it when I see it. This goes way past good natured fun - I don't expect to see Waterboarding become a party game, I wouldn't support blackmail being featured on a late night infomercial... and I think that turning the idea of Russian roulette in to something frivolous is not only reckless, but dangerous. And for me the fun stops here.

What I suggest certainly isn't a boycott of Urban Outfitters - but perhaps an email to their Chairman, CEO, President Richard Hayne.   If Mr. Hayne doesn't know of the consumer displeasure with a product, he can do nothing to correct the problem.  Certainly I wish he would pay closer attention to what his company is selling - and look at it from a more conscionable point of view - but since this slipped by him? I think letting him know would be a good first step towards getting things like this off of popular websites that teens and young adults frequent and where they are influenced. I like a lot of the fashions they have on their site - I can see why my daughter would like being an Urban Outfitters customer (with mostly her parents money).  But I'd feel a whole lot better about her shopping there if I didn't see such huge examples of bad judgement and gross disregard for the danger that is gun mis-use being displayed where she shops.  To make Russian roulette in to a fun game?  Is sick. 

So, please spread the word - join me - contact Mr. Hayne.
 Or tweet. #urbanoutfittersaction
We can make a difference!

Twitter: @dodim
Or, leave me a message in the comment section. 



elise said...

I have spent 30 minutes attempting to write a thoughtful, respectful email. I don't know how to in this instance. I am appalled that this is targeted at a demographic that is not known for making wise and intelligent decisions. Putting that thought in an email will not do any good.
This product is insane.

Dodi said...

I actually think your thoughts are exactly what they need to hear. I'm not sure it needs to say more than, "I am appalled that this is targeted at a demographic that is not known for making wise and intelligent decisions." Simply lead off with: Dear Mr. Hayne, I am contacting you regarding a party on your site called Party Roulette. I would like to ask that this game be taken off of your site and out of your stores.

Then sign it "respectfully yours" and I think your email would be very much a thoughtful, respectful message.

Thank you for your support on this!

MV Coffman said...

Dodi -- I am as disturbed by this as you are. However, note that the game is not just being sold by Urban Outfitters. You will also find it at Amazon,,, and a video review at It's probably dozens of other places in stores and on the Internet as well. That is to say, perhaps we should be writing to the manufacturer as well as Urban Outfitters. The manufacturer is Can You Imagine ( Thanks for sharing this.

Dodi said...

Dear MV Coffman,
Good point - THANK YOU! I had not researched this fully, which was a mistake. I will contact additional retailers and manufacturer today. When I have additional contact information I will post.

Again, THANK YOU for bringing this to my attention. I appreciate your support on this!

Carrie Kelly said...

Inappropriate isn't a strong enough word to describe this game. However. When I sit down and try to qualitatively differentiate this game and the incredibly realistic video games making light of human death, I'm at a loss.

It's not ok to make a game out of suicide, I agree. But we as a culture have acquiesced to the notion that it's ok to make a game out of murder, so really I don't think we can be surprised that this is where the progression of death entertainment is leading us.

Dodi said...

Carrie - wise words. I can't say that we don't have some of those video games here at home. I know our kids haven't played them, but perhaps it is time to think about what owning them at all might be teaching our kids. Certainly it is something for us to discuss with them.

I don't even know if I would have noticed the violence of this game if I hadn't been confronted with such a shocking picture of it right before my eyes. Perhaps games like this will exist no matter what I think, but maybe I can help change the way some companies market them to their customers? I hope so. When I look at the pictures of this game on other sites, it doesn't appear as violent - which is also misleading. The game promotes the IDEA of Russian Roulette. I just hate that there are Party Games out there that make light of this type of activity. Suicide, real or imagined, is no laughing matter.

I'm just now starting this journey in to being the parent of a teen... it is going to be a long road of deciding where to draw the line for them and when to let them make their own mistakes. Urban Outfitters is the type of store where they will want to shop, more and more as time goes on. I would certainly like retailers to be more discerning on the products they offer, to be careful with their brand and the message they would like to send, and to be respectful of their customer regarding the way they offer the products which they do decide to sell.

Thank you for some good food for thought. I appreciate your comments.

tz said...

you have got to be kidding me! So will write to them. Thanks for bringing this to our attention

Dodi said...

If you follow a link to the product, what you will find is a notice, "We're sorry. This product is no longer available."


Dodi said...

tz went ahead and emailed the manufacturer... which I LOVE about her!