Spencer's Is Being Called Out For This Offensive, Trump-Inspired T-Shirt

Photo: Courtesy of Spencer's.
Spencer's Gifts is known for cheeky graphic T-shirts, among other (often very random) things — and while the mall staple sometimes misses the mark, its latest blunder is way, way off. A Trump-inspired T-shirt sold at one of the retailer's brick-and-mortar locations went viral, following accusations of normalizing sexual assault, The Oregonian reports.

Portland resident Mary Numair posted an image on Facebook of a display of pro-Trump T-shirts at her local Spencer's outpost. "Way to normalize sexual assault," she wrote in her post. The four shirts read: "Team Trump," "Trump '16: Finally Someone With Balls," "Deal With It," and "Grab America By The Pussy." The latter refers to the 2005 Access Hollywood tape that got leaked in October, in which the president-elect was recorded making sexually-explicit comments to Billy Bush. (To add insult to injury, the assortment of tees was located right near the store's entrance, Numair noted.) Unsurprisingly, the shirts weren't very well received on social media.
Advertisement
By repurposing a quote that implied non-consensual sexual relations, many argued, Spencer's was normalizing this type of behavior. According to a recent statistic from RAINN, one American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds, with most perpetrators walking away with no charges whatsoever.
By Monday, the Spencer's location at the Lloyd Center mall, where Numair snapped the picture, had moved the offensive display to the back of the store. Bob Dye, the mall's general manager, told The Oregonian that he had spoken with the assistant manager at Spencer's to relocate the shirt display "and face it towards the back wall," characterizing it as "wrong on so many levels." The newspaper then visited the store and reported that the T-shirts were removed from the floor all together — a decision that appeared to have come from that particular location's staff, not company management. Dye also reached out to Shannon Coulter, creator of #GrabYourWallet, about actions in response to this very much not-okay T-shirt.

The cringe-y shirts may now be out of sight at that Portland store, but three of the styles shown in Numair's viral photo are still available online (and on sale), along with some additional pro-Trump merch. (The particularly offensive style was momentarily sold out, according to BuzzFeed, but appears to have been restocked since.) Spencer's also stocks some anti-Trump pieces, such as a #NotMyPresident T-shirt and Dump Trump toilet paper, as Kevin Mahoney, the company's vice president and general counsel, pointed out to The Oregonian.

"The ["Grab America By The Pussy"] shirt was never meant to promote any type of abuse or attack on any person," Mahoney explained. "The shirt originates with the comment made by the President-elect. The purpose of that shirt was to address that controversy and that news, and not in any way to condone that type of activity." Instead, it's meant to be satirical — much like the bi-partisan merch that Spencer's stocked during the election. While he described the Trump quote that inspired the T-shirt and subsequent accusations of normalizing sexual assault "horrendous," Mahoney said that Spencer's wouldn't be pulling it anytime soon, per The Oregonian.

Meanwhile, concerned shoppers are organizing protests against the Spencer's Gifts location in Portland, as well as leaving comments on the company's social media pages. First L.L. Bean, and now Spencer's — malls are having some not-so-stellar moments post-election.

We've reached out to Spencer's Gifts for comment and will update our story when we hear back.

More fashion news:
As If Duck Boots Weren't Divisive Enough, Donald Trump Is Now Promoting L.L. Bean
That New Balenciaga Logo Sure Does Look Familiar
No, Donald Trump, There Isn't A Shortage Of Inauguration Dresses In D.C.
Advertisement