Coronavirus-Themed Decorated Apparel and Custom Merch Removed From Etsy
Etsy might not appear to be too keen on suppressing brand hijacking, but the e-commerce website proved Wednesday that its moral backbone is not completely crooked. With the advance of the coronavirus having become a global concern, the site removed hundreds of items that “attempt to exploit” the virus's progression.
A few weeks ago, we looked at how the coronavirus, known as covid-19, was impacting the promotional products industry supply chain. This time around, decorated apparel and custom merch are grabbing the limelight through the move by Etsy to avoid having people essentially poke fun at those suffering from the malady and treat the overall struggle to combat the virus as a marketable phenomenon.
BuzzFeed took a look at the removal of the products, proclaiming in its headline that Etsy removed “all coronavirus-themed merchandise.” However, our inspection of the site revealed that a few goods remain, meaning that Etsy will need to do a bit more work to fulfill the claim that its teams “continue to automatically and manually review and remove items that violate our policies.”
With respect to the banished items and the existing assortment, well, every excised option is in poor taste, especially a T-shirt that proclaims, “I don’t have coronavirus. I’m just drunk,” a sentiment that reminded us of the similarly objectionable one present on the Drunk Lives Matter shirt that we covered in 2017.
Making a buck off tragedy and the attempts to move on from that pain are low blows to what the world of promotional products and apparel is striving to do, namely, unite end-users with goods that reinforce their commitment to causes and their individuality.
The aforementioned St. Patrick’s Day shirt would have likely been a hit this month had Etsy not intervened. And the other products, both the ones removed and the ones remaining (such as this “Don’t Cough on Me, Bro” sweatshirt), remind us that while it is understandable to want to make a buck, success should never come through the mocking of someone’s situation. No matter how much longer the coronavirus registers as an ordeal, it’s costing people their lives and affecting the livelihood of others. Those details alone should continue to inspire Etsy to stop anyone who would hope to profit off someone’s plight.