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. (www.cyi.net) - 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.
LOOK AT THAT PICTURE!
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
What I suggest certainly isn't a boycott of Urban Outfitters - but perhaps an email to their Chairman, CEO, President Richard Hayne. email@example.com 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!
Or, leave me a message in the comment section.