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Etsy Pulls Rape-Promoting T-Shirts From Site Amid Outcry, Activists Push for Further Action

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Etsy Pulls Rape-Promoting T-Shirts From Site Amid Outcry, Activists Push for Further Action

Teddy Wilson

Although shirts with slogans including “I’m a sensitive guy. I only rape pregnant women" were pulled from the site, a shop on the online marketplace Etsy still sells t-shirts that use ableist language.

UPDATE, October 24, 12:00 p.m.: This article has been updated to reflect that the shirt about sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman at a party has apparently been taken down from the fyourtshirt shop. Other t-shirts, including one about a person “tied naked to a tree,” remain.

Until Wednesday afternoon, Etsy, the online marketplace where you can find everything from a vintage Turkish Anatolian Kilim rug to the Sharknado cat hat, also made available through one of its sellers a t-shirt featuring the phrase “Autumn is perfect for date rape.” In fact, the Etsy shop fyourtshirt had a collection of seven t-shirts with slogans making light of rape until the shirts were pulled from the shop amid an outcry from activists.

A petition to “Shut Down [the] Rape T-shirt Seller” sprang up on Change.org Wednesday afternoon; as of 5:00 p.m. it had more than 2,200 signatures. The petition notes that “according to Etsy’s terms of use, items or listings that promote, support or glorify acts of violence or harm towards self or others are strictly prohibited.” The petition asked Etsy Community Management to remove the seller and products because the t-shirts “[promote] messages of rape, elder abuse and sexual violence.”

Katherine Hull, a spokesperson for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), which launched the petition, told Rewire that the t-shirts were brought to their attention Wednesday morning. “Within a couple of hours we had over 1,500 signatures,” said Hull.

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“What we’re really trying to do is striving to change the way Americans think about sexual violence,” said Hull. “We’ve been using social media to encourage our supporters to take a stand against these t-shirts and against sexual violence. This is another example of the fact that we need to show that sexual violence has no place in our society.”

The fyourtshirt store, which describes its merchandise as “T-Shirts. Lame but Expensive,” sells shirts for $12.99. Although shirts with the slogans “I’m a sensitive guy. I only rape pregnant women,” “Old people are useless. You can’t even rape them,” and “Rape is fine, just accept Jesus” were pulled from the site, the shop still sells t-shirts that use ableist language as well as a shirt about a person “tied naked to a tree.”

RAINN updated its petition after the shirts were pulled: “RAINN has not received a response from Etsy, and while some of the t-shirts in question have been removed there are still several that imply incest and non-consensual sex acts. Sign this petition to have Etsy remove the seller fyourt.”

An Etsy spokesperson told Rewire in an email after the initial shirts had been pulled that “[t]hese items have been flagged, and our Trust & Safety team is investigating. They will remove any listings that violate our prohibited items policy, which specifies that items or listings that promote, support or glorify acts of violence or harm towards self or others are not allowed. You can find that policy here: http://www.etsy.com/help/article/4525.”

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