Gigs & Festivals

Rocawear pulls Occupy t-shirt after protests

By | Published on Monday 14 November 2011


Hip hop fashion firm Rocawear, in which Jay-Z still has an interest and role, was forced to take a special t-shirt bearing the slogan ‘Occupy All Streets’ off its website late last week after the company was accused of cynically capitalising on the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Jay-Z was photographed wearing one of the ‘Occupy’ shirts backstage at the ‘Watch The Throne’ tour in New York recently, but he and his company came under fire after it was revealed the shirts were selling for $22 and were not, as some expected, being sold in aid of the anti-bad-capitalism movement. A spokesman for Rocawear tried to say that the t-shirts were designed to “remind people that there is change to be made everywhere, not just on Wall Street”, but it didn’t really wash.

A spokesman for the Occupy Wall Street movement was quoted by TMZ as saying: “To attempt to profit off of the first important social moment of 50 years with an overpriced piece of cotton is an insult to the fight for economic civil rights known as Occupy Wall Street”.

The shirts were subsequently taken off the Rocawear website. Of course, given all the tweeting and blogging and photo uploading that goes on within the Occupy movement, the Jay-Z fashion company aren’t the first to monetise protest, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr all getting traffic and therefore advertising boosts from the campaigning.