Teespring Removes 'Antifa' Merchandise Listings, Allows 'Boogaloo' Movement Shirts
Teespring, the custom merchandise platform, has been growing in both capabilities and popularity, but one logo will be absent from its site. In a controversial move, Teespring announced that it would remove all Antifa-related merchandise from the platform pending review of the content.
Last week, a Twitter account called “Antifa International” that promotes the movement posted a thread with an email it received from Teespring. The company claimed that the word “Antifa” is in violation of its acceptable use policy. Apparently, Teespring had prohibited other designs over the years, such as one that said “This Hammer Smashes Fascists” and another that said “Always Anti Racist Anti Nazi Anti Fascist.”
— Antifa International (@antifaintl) August 7, 2020
“If @teespring doesn't want anti-fascists to use their platform, they should be honest about their reasons,” the account tweeted. “Not doing so leads one to speculate about what side they're on in the fight against bigotry, fascism and hatred.”
Teespring actually responded to the thread, setting the record straight as much as it could, potentially complicating matters further:
Teespring is not a fascist company. Due to the recent increase of violent Antifa content, we have removed all Antifa related listings until we are able to review the intent behind the designs. Reviewing this content will take some time, so we appreciate your understanding.
— Teespring (@teespring) August 7, 2020
Where it gets muddy is that, contrary to some belief, “Antifa” is not actually an organization in the traditional sense with members, leadership, etc. And it got even muddier when the Antifa International account showed that Teespring hadn’t banned shirts related to the far-right “Boogaloo” movement. For those unaware, the “Boogaloo” (or “Big Igloo” to avoid detection online) is an extremist movement hoping to bring about a second civil war. The name comes from the movie “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.”
Both of these are movements rather than organizations, so it’s hard to pin down what should be banned and what shouldn’t. One could say common sense dictates that anything politically-charged could not be on Teespring, but that would take away potential business for political candidates who want to use the platform. Aside from that, it’s tough for a company like Teespring to pick and choose and do their research for every possible logo used on the site.
It doesn't help that the site has a bit of a messy history with controversial or questionable designs. It has previously come under fire for allowing T-shirts that said "Hitler did nothing wrong" and "Black women are trash."
It would be difficult for Teespring to personally review every design submitted to the site, but it seems this level of monitoring would be in its best interest, especially if it wants to police its platform in an era where few issues are black and white.