PR Fail: Amazon Silent on ‘Keep Calm and Rape a Lot’ T-Shirt Scandal

If there’s one trend we’d like to kill deader than the Harlem Shake, it’s “Keep Calm and Carry On”. Now comes news that will hopefully mark the end of this meme: Amazon is in a big pot of extra-hot PR water after briefly carrying a series of T-shirts bearing charming slogans like “Keep Calm and Hit Her”, “Keep Calm and Knife Her” and the winner, “Keep Calm and Rape a Lot.”

We think we speak for everyone when we say “Yikes.”

Here’s the dish: over the weekend, said shirts appeared on the site via a super classy Australian third-party retailer known as Solid Gold Bomb which has partnered with Amazon in the past. A public uproar quickly followed, with Britain’s shadow culture secretary calling on Amazon to make an immediate and “substantial” donation to a refuge for abused women. Amazon quickly removed the pages, but as you can see from the image above, screenshots live forever..

The dude responsible for Solid Gold Bomb now claims that, while he understands the gravity of the offense, it all came from a simple business plan: in order to create and sell more shirts, he used an automated computer program that “randomly paired” nouns and verbs with the “Keep Calm” meme and that the company did not “deliberately” create the shirts you see above. That’s a believable cop-out, right? No? Well, while this automation helped Solid Gold sell more shirts, it also spelled doom for the brand: its social media pages are all down now, and the CEO says that the entire venture is “dead in the water” thanks to this snafu. Aww…

This is all (not) well and good, but surely someone has to approve each product for sale on Amazon, right? Seriously: these products are even more obviously offensive than that horrible super-racist Anthropologie candle. And yet we’ve heard nothing but crickets from that side so far.

Note to Amazon: it really doesn’t matter who was ultimately responsible for this awfulness. It’s time to step up, apologize and pay the price. You’re a big corporation. You can do it.