The clothing retailer TK Maxx has pulled and destroyed a line of t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase “Je Suis Over It” after a customer complained that it was insulting to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris earlier this year.
The shirt’s manufacturer has said that the logo was an old design and promised to pull the remainder from outlets.
When Islamic gunmen rampaged through the offices of satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo last January, killing 12 members of staff and their associates, and injuring 11 more, the world responded by chanting the slogan “Je Suis Charlie” (‘I am Charlie’).
The phrase became a symbol of defiance against those who seek to destroy freedom and impose uniformity of thinking.
So when Tom Young, 23, visited T K Maxx in Cribbs Causeway mall in Bristol, he was outraged when he spotted a t-shirt reading “Je Suis Over It,” the Express has reported. Mr Young said:
“It’s appalling that a global brand has allowed a T-shirt like this to be produced and sold in store.
“Even if the message did not intend to cause upset in relation to the tragic event, I am adamant it should be taken down from stores immediately.”
T K Maxx have now confirmed that the shirt has been withdrawn from sale while an investigation has also been launched into how it was included in the shop’s offerings.
“We take product matters very seriously and appreciate that this t-shirt has been brought to our attention,” a spokesman from T K Maxx has said.
“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. We would like to apologise to our customers for any concern this may have caused.”
The t-shirts, created by American manufacturing company Reason Clothing last year, are also carried by online retailer Asos, at a discount price of £15. They too have confirmed that the shirt has now been withdrawn.
A spokesperson for Asos said: “Reason Clothing are one of the brands available on ASOS.com. We can confirm we bought this style from them in October 2014.
“It is never our intention to knowingly offend or cause upset to anyone, least of all those affected by the terrible tragedy in Paris in January 2015 this year.
“Therefore we have withdrawn the item in question from sale with immediate effect and fully support the brand’s pledge to destroy all remaining stock.”
A spokesperson for Reason Clothing said: “Reason Clothing stands in solidarity with the world community in regards to the Charlie Hebdo massacre that occurred on January 7, 2015, in Paris, France.
“With regards to the “Je Suis Over It” style which was originally produced in May 2014, Reason Clothing is working with retailers to remove this style from inventories and have destroyed.
“No connection with the Charlie Hebdo attacks was intended or implied.”