The British fashion retailer Topman has been forced into removing a t-shirt from their online collection that was thought to reference the Hillsborough stadium disaster.
Offering an unequivocal apology for the misunderstanding, the firm were nonetheless keen to point out that the initial reaction to the t-shirt was misplaced:
Topman apologises unreservedly for any offence caused by this T-shirt. The design was inspired by a Bob Marley track with the number referring to the year of re-release.
The garment has been removed from sale online and in stores.
With the number '96' bore so prominently across the back of the item of clothing, and the words, "what goes around comes around" and "karma" printed on the item, the added red colouring of the t-shirt made the confusion somewhat inevitable.
Coming only days after it was confirmed that prosecutors confirmed that there was insufficient evidence to charge five police officers with covering-up the nature of how those ninety-six Liverpool fans had died in the 1989 disaster, Topman perhaps made the correct decision in pulling the t-shirt from their range; irrespective of the initial intentions of the designer.
Can't imagine for one second that Topman would deliberately be mocking Hillsborough or the 96, HOWEVER - it is incredibly short-sighted and insensitive. It doesn't have to be red, the number doesn't have to be so big and prominent. They've had a bit of a mare here, defo.
— Bolshevik Bannerman ☭ 🚩 🇵🇸 (@TheLeftwaffe) March 15, 2018
I get that the Topman shirt is quite possibly a reference to a song BUT a large "96" the word "karma" and the phrase "what goes around" on a bloody RED shirt is unbelievably insensitive. Surely somebody realised it was bound to offend people????
— Oddball (@joneeley) March 15, 2018
With knowledge (and outrage) at the t-shirt growing at an alarming rate last night, the issue even caught the attention of the Labour MP for South Wirral.
Hi @Topman. No idea what is behind this, but it is very unfortunate. Hope you can discontinue the tshirt asap please. https://t.co/k2hKohzcuG
— Alison McGovern (@Alison_McGovern) March 15, 2018
An unfortunate development for the firm, in taking down the offending item, you would imagine the uproar to abate somewhat.