Companies Under Fire: The Truth About Businesses Like Chick-fil-a,Urban Outfitters, and Hobby Lobby

Companies+Under+Fire%3A+The+Truth+About+Businesses+Like+Chick-fil-a%2CUrban+Outfitters%2C+and+Hobby+Lobby

Mirra Goldenberg

Slider image by Mirra Goldenberg.

What would you do if you realized your favorite store was actually run by homophobic, racist, anti-Semitic, or any other type of hateful group of people? Would you continue to shop there despite their strong, distasteful beliefs? In several business, the respect for minorities is lacking, but how is this affecting shoppers? Large companies like Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby, and even Urban Outfitters are all to blame for these issues, despite popular belief.

Chick-fil-A, a beloved fast food chain known for their chicken and waffle fries, is not what it appears to be behind closed doors. Obviously the owners of business will have their own beliefs, but not when they negatively impact their customers. Chick-fil-A has donated over five million dollars to organizations that depict gay people as pedophiles, want to make “gay behavior” illegal, and even say gay people should be “exported” out of America. Even if you are opposed to same-sex marriage, would you really be okay with supporting a company that advocates putting people in jail or exporting them out of America simply because of their sexual orientation?

Another group commonly facing discrimination from several companies is women. Hobby Lobby specifically fought against women’s healthcare and took it all the way to the Supreme Court. This arts and crafts supply store claimed that is should be exempt from covering birth-control in its employer-sponsored health care plan. This was all due to religious reasons. The Oklahoma City-based retailer helped set a dangerous legal precedent to deny women, and even LGBT communities, rights, but for what? Power? Control over the minority communities? But the real question is whether it is still acceptable to shop there even though their basic principles and views target your beliefs or even you.

Hobby Lobby is one example of a large business that discriminates towards women and the LGTBQ communities. Image from Flickr.

Like Hobby Lobby, Urban Outfitters recklessly discriminates against different minorities including the mentally ill, Jews, gun violence victims, black people, and Native Americans, among others. They also promote widely-known issues that are trailing the US today, like drug abuse, alcohol consumption in underaged children, and inappropriate language. Their clothing lines have continually featured numerous pieces that fall into these categories. For example, in April 2012, Urban Outfitters sold a shirt featuring a six-pointed star badge resembling the Star of David, specifically which had been forced upon the shirts of Jews in Nazi Germany during World World II and leading up to the Holocaust.

A few years prior, the same clothing store had a T-shirt for sale on their website in two color options: “White/Charcoal” and “Obama/Black.” This turned out to be a mistake that had the original intent of being “Obama Blue,” but how could any business let something like this slip out to the public. There is a reason why companies are full of people working alongside each other. If one person ran every company, there would be no one to catch their mistakes.

Another example of Urban Outfitters’ negligence is in their production of pro-alcohol T-shirts for kids. Even though Urban Outfitters appeals to adults as well as teenagers, the biggest customer pool is the 18-to-24 crowd, with 18-and-under following. With that being said, the majority of those customers are under the legal drinking age. This creates loads of issues when T-shirt slogans include: “I Vote for Vodka,” “Misery Loves Alcohol,” “I Drink You’re Cute,” and “USA Drinking Team.” These provocative catchlines are especially worrisome because teenage drinking is a growing problem related to sexual violence, decreased condom use, and death by overuse.

Pro-alcohol messages on shirts at Urban Outfitters have been creating a controversy, as they are being sold to underage kids as well. Image from Flickr.

These three examples don’t even begin to cover all of the hateful products produced by Urban Outfitters. With that being said, wouldn’t this raise a red flag when spending money at their stores? Even though some of the items not mentioned were created entirely by mistake, how could a company supported by so many shoppers be making these mistakes so frequently? Shouldn’t once be enough to teach you a lesson?

In the end, how can you decide whether it is okay to shop at a store or eat at a restaurant even while knowing who truly owns/runs them? Are we automatically racist, homophobic, or anti-Semitic if we shop at these stores? There is no simple answer, but withdrawing our support for these businesses can be shown in other ways than boycotting their stores. By simply raising awareness of the hateful discrimination among these businesses will eliminate some ignorance in the shoppers and buyers.

 

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*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Rampagewired or Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy*