Company Pulls Sale of ‘Chicago Stronger’ T-Shirts After Receiving Threats, Emails
A Chicago-based T-shirt company pulled one of its products that taunted Boston hockey fans and residents after receiving an abundance of threatening emails about the apparel.
In a half-hearted apology letter posted on its website in place of where their “Chicago Stronger” t-shirts were being advertised, representatives from Cubby Tees said their attempt to add a competitive element to the Stanley Cup Finals series between the Bruins and Blackhawks was meant to be satire, and not meant to target, or insult, the victims of the Boston Marathon attack.
The “Chicago Stronger” shirt, which was available in two styles before being pulled from the rack, was accompanied by an explanation for its creation, which read:
That post has since been removed.
But in a follow-up letter, which came only after repeated emails containing content that Cubby Tees proclaimed as “ignorant,” the company said they only made the shirt to mock Boston sports fans for the exploitation of the term “Boston Strong” and its constant use amongst professional sports teams and other profitable entities. “The design was based on the puzzling creation of a ‘Boston Strong’ slogan in the first place, and then the use of that banner for the glory of New England pro teams,” the company said in a statement. “If you have written us because you think that it’s wrong to hijack human misery to promote athletic glory THEN WE ARE IN AGREEMENT – THAT IS WHAT WE WERE MOCKING WITH THIS SHIRT!”
Cubby Tees representatives said anyone who believed that the shirt exploited or mocked those injured on Patriots Day missed their point and didn’t process or fully comprehend the commentary that accompanied the T-shirt promotion. “Nowhere on the shirt’s face (or within its subtext or motivation) did we take aim at the victims or make light of the incident,” the company said in the follow-up letter. “Communities generally best show their strength by showing it, not by telling everyone about it, and certainly not by suggesting that their athletic mercenaries will succeed because of real-life tragedy, or by threatening that same ugly violence against anyone whom they perceive has slighted them.”
Not all the emails that the company received were angry, however. They thanked and acknowledged the “thoughtful” responses they received buried within the “appalling” piles of angry vitriol. “To those who wrote with earnest hearts and emotional stories, we thank you for your time and your input … to the overwhelming majority who banged out vulgar slurs, violent threats, hypocritical arguments, and racist diatribes against Chicago and the President (because he lived here for a spell) … I guess we’re not surprised— you’re Boston, and that’s why we love you.”
“Here’s to a world without violence, the speedy recovery of all victims, and a decent hockey series – in that order,” the company wrote.