As if Urban Outfitters hasn't dealt with enough controversy this year, the Philadelphia-based retailer decided to end 2012 with a bang by issuing a holiday catalog rife with expletives.
The majority of products, which include Urban's typical offerings - flasks, sweaters, and other goods, aren't directly offensive - but the manner in which these pieces are presented is creating a level of concern from parents who don't want their children to be exposed to words that the media avoids. Candles and pillows with the words "sh-t" and "f-ck" splayed across its canvases in full have moved parents and consumers of the youthful brand to speak out against Urban's seemingly callous use of profanity. A few of the offending products include a candle resembling the Love Park sculpture, replaced by the four letter word, "F-CK," emblazoned in capital letters. There's also a simple white, stainless steel flask, that reads, "That Sh-t Cray." The phrase, made popular by Jay-Z and Kanye with the release of their collaboration album earlier this year, has become a mainstream pop culture reference and phrase used by America's youth.
We recount Urban Outfitters' tumultuous, controversial, lawsuit-laced year: In March, the retailer released a collection of offensive St. Patty's Day tees that the Congressional Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs responded to stating that the shirts were "fueling stereotypes that many Irish-Americans, as well as the people of Ireland, work so hard to dispel." The retailer did not respond to requests for comment regarding the issue. That same season, the parents of an underage model served the retailer with a lawsuit involving provocative images of their then 15-year-old daughter splashed across men's tees sold by the brand.
But the biggest of Urban's woes this year occured in late February when the Navajo Nation slapped the company with a trademark infringement lawsuit over products like Urban's "Navajo Feather Earrings," and its "Navajo Print Fabric Wrapped Flask," and our personal favorite, the "Navajo Hipster Panty."