'Keep Calm' rape T-shirts taken off site

MP demands Amazon makes reparations for selling tops 'encouraging' sexual violence

Harriet Harman, the shadow Culture Secretary, last night called on the online retailer Amazon to make a "substantial donation" to a women's refuge last night as an apology for selling T-shirts on its website which appeared to encourage the sexual and physical abuse of women.

The internet giant seemed to be offering for sale T-shirts emblazoned with slogans such as "Keep Calm and Hit Her," on its UK site yesterday morning, for £14.99–£16.99, only hours after it was pressured into removing other garments by the same company, which read "Keep Calm and Rape a Lot" and "Keep Calm and Rape Them". Amazon took down pages offering the rape T-shirts by mid-morning after receiving hundreds of angry complaints.

Harriet Harman told The Independent on Sunday that Amazon's decision to sell the T-shirts in the first place was "absolutely outrageous". She added: "Domestic violence and sex offences are not something people should make money out of. [Amazon's] supposed to be a public company.

"My suggestion is they give all profits they made from it to a women's refuge." She also suggested they might give a "substantial donation" to End Violence Against Women and Women's Aid.

The company behind the controversial clothing, Solid Gold Bomb, was launched in Melbourne, Australia, in 2008 and has printing facilities in the US and Oxford. Its website boasted of selling "over a million T-shirts during the global financial crisis"; other T-shirts in the same range read: "Keep Calm and Knife Her," "Keep Calm and Choke Her," and "Keep Calm and Grope On".

By 11.30am yesterday, an Amazon UK spokesperson was saying the "Keep Calm and Hit Her" T-shirts were "not available for sale". None of the offensive tops was available by yesterday afternoon. The company failed to answer additional questions, including how long the garments had been on sale or when the decision was made to take them off the site.

Sophie Bennett, the campaigns and policy officer for Object, which challenges the objectification of women, said: "These T-shirts are not harmless fun. The are dangerous and intimidating. In promoting rape and normalising abuse, they create a context in which violence against women is acceptable."

Lisa Clarke, from the No More Page 3 campaign, said the T-shirts "show a distinct lack of respect towards women.

Critics also voiced their anger on Amazon's website and Twitter. One online reviewer posted: "Advocating violence against women is unacceptable. This product perpetuates sexism and is absolutely despicable." The former Labour deputy leader John Prescott tweeted: "First Amazon avoids paying UK tax. Now they're making money from domestic violence."

Solid Gold Bomb, which yesterday had taken its Facebook and Twitter pages off-line, was unable to comment yesterday afternoon. When the company withdrew the rape T-shirts, it issued a statement on its website.

"The slogan," it said, "had been automatically generated using a scripted computer process running against hundreds of thousands of dictionary words. Any offensive items that are remaining are certainly in the deletion queue and will be removed as soon as the processing is complete."

While it said the company "did not in any way deliberately create the offensive T-shirts in question", it added: "We're sorry for the ill-feeling this has caused!"

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on Scotland's oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
News
news

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballThe latest scores and Twitter updates from tonight’s games, featuring Bayern Munich vs Man City and Chelsea vs Schalke
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
i100
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

Extras
10 best table lamps
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager (technical, applications, infrastructure)

£55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Proj...

English Teacher (Bristol and South Gloucestershire)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: English teachers for day to day cover,...

Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 6 Teacher RequiredThis teaching...

SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's Stortford / Stansted

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week