Forever 21's New 'Rape' T-Shirt Is Causing Controversy

March 15th 2016

Taylor Bell

Popular retailer Forever 21 has had to deal with its fair share of controversy with some of its t-shirts in the past, but none quite like this.

The popular clothing store for 20-somethings is in hot water over one of its male t-shirts that appeared to directly challenge sexual assault victims, New York Magazine reports. The t-shirt reads, "Don't say maybe if you want to say no," an apparent warning to potential victims of sexual assault.

Forever 21

Immediately customers and fans condemned the shirt, accusing the big retailer of victim-blaming and promoting rape culture. As part of this environment, people tend to focus on and analyze the actions of the victims but not the attackers. Moreover, 1 in 6 women has been the victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault in her lifetime, according to the Rape Abuse and Incest International Network.

Although Forever 21 later stated that it was not their intention to offend anymore, people did not appreciate the apparent lack of sensitivity.

Media publications were quick to add on to that sentiment. Cosmopolitan called the shirt, "incredibly rapey," and Jezebel called it "very disgusting."

But Forever 21 was quick to respond. In a statement obtained by Business Insider, the company expressed its remorse and said that they had pulled the t-shirt from its website.

"Forever 21 strives to exemplify the highest ethical standards and takes feedback and product concerns very seriously. With regards to the t-shirt in question, upon receiving feedback from our customers, we took immediate action to have it removed from our website," Forever 21 told Business Insider. "We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by the product."

Forever 21 has faced backlash before.

In 2011, the clothing store received backlash for a t-shirt that read, "Allergic To Algebra," which people condemned as an "anti-academic message to young women," BuzzFeed reports. And in 2013, the company took some heat for selling t-shirts featuring the famous rap group N.W.A and the City of Compton, the Huffington Post reports. After a public outcry on Twitter the retailer was forced to remove the t-shirts from its website.