T.J. Maxx Pulls 'Hang Loose' Noose T-shirt
An outraged customer took to Twitter to complain about an offensive T-shirt on the racks at a Florida retailer Monday, a move that got the shirt removed from stores.
The customer, who was shopping at a Kissamee, Fla. T.J. Maxx store, noticed a T-shirt with the words "Hang Loose" and an image of a noose printed on it. She soon tweeted, "It is absolutely sickening that @tjmaxx thinks it's OK to sell a shirt like this."
— psycho girlfriend (@PsychoGF_) March 17, 2015
That tweet, which was retweeted more than 500 times, started a series of heated tweets—directed toward T.J. Maxx and the shirt's manufacturer Tavik—from critics who said the shirt made references to both suicide and lynching.
One user noted, "What is wrong with you creating that Hang Loose shirt with a noose? Highly offensive and completely racist."
@tavik What is wrong with you creating that Hang Loose shirt with a noose? Highly offensive and completely racist.
— Embee (@SugarcubeDog) March 17, 2015
Another said, "Even without the obvious racial overtones, how is a noose with the caption "hang loose" OK, @tavik? What were you going for there?"
Even without the obvious racial overtones, how is a noose w/ the caption "hang loose" okay, @tavik? What were you going for there?
— April (@ReignOfApril) March 17, 2015
T.J. Maxx responded to the initial tweet within an hour, directing the customer to contact customer service, which was already closed for the day. The customer questioned how customer service could assist—to which T.J. Maxx responded, "We would like to make certain this is addressed," and requested to store location.
T.J. Maxx apologized and said it began the process of removing the shirts after receiving the tweet.
"As soon as we became aware of the offensive T-shirt message, we initiated the process to remove this item from our stores and are internally reviewing how we inadvertently purchased the item," T.J. Maxx said in a statement to USA Today. "We would like to apologize to our customers for any concern this may have caused."
Tavik, a beachwear company based in Irvine, Calif., also apologized on Twitter and in a statement to USA Today.
"We sincerely apologize for any offense caused by this T-shirt," Tavik said in the statement. "This item was released without going through proper protocols and is not related to anything other than surfing. We are pulling this item from retailers immediately,"
We are deeply sorry to anyone who may have been offended. The shirt is being pulled from stores immediately.
— TAVIK (@tavik) March 17, 2015