The printed Tees, a staple for the popular chain, simply read “I Support Same Sex Marriage.” When questioned, a buyer for Urban Outfitters stated that they had received “too much bad press”–though not even a single blog entry had made its way onto the internet, according to the shirt's designer, Tara Litman and New York magazine.
The store has been known for stirring up some controversy via the T-shirt in the past. In 2001, one men's Tee featured a smiling naked woman mapped out as a piece of meat (shoulder, chuck, rib, loin, rump…) ready for slaughter. In 2004, Urban Outfitters yanked their “Everybody Loves a Jewish Girl” shirts after receiving some pressure from the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish organizations. The same year, Urban cited “continued misunderstanding” in their decision to remove a Tee that read “Voting is for Old People.”
So this whole thing isn't anything new for Urban, except for one notable thing that's somehow been missed over the years: Urban Outfitters chairman (and zillionaire) Rich Hayne is a well-known conservative Republican who has contributed money to numerous senators who vote for legislation against gay marriage, including former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, who made controversial statements in a 2003 Associated Press interview equating gay marriage to incest and pedophilia.
This is all especially unnerving when you consider that the hipster movement has fueled Urban's extreme popularity, by the youth who've chosen to believe they were being anti-establishment by shopping at a store that hawks only Obama Tees next to copies of NYLON and Catcher in the Rye. Pawns? Puppets? Smart businessman?
Hayne founded Urban Outfitters in 1970 and has since then operated four retail brands in addition to Urban Outfitters: Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain and Leifsdottir. The company's net income was $448.61 million in 2005.