PacSun’s Controversial American Flag T-Shirt Receives Criticism

PacSun’s Controversial American Flag T-Shirt Receives Criticism
Pacsun Outlet Store Mike Mozart / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Retail clothing brand Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. is facing heat this Memorial Day weekend over a T-shirt design that is being claimed by people as offensive and disrespectful.


The design in question is that of an upside down black-and-white American flag on the front of the shirt displayed outside a PacSun store in Foley, Alabama.

After the original photograph of the t-shirt was posted on Facebook by a customer at Tanger Outlets on May 23, the store received several customer complaints; as a result of which, the T-shirt was eventually taken off the display, according to New York Daily News.

However, as of Monday afternoon, the design still featured on the store’s website.

The flag should “never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property,” as per the U.S. Flag Code.

Rachel Zawacki-Kuss had written on the brand’s Facebook page, “I saw this at your location at Tanger Outlets this morning in Foley, Alabama.

“I understand freedom of speech but this shirt, displayed prominently at the entrance of your store, for Memorial Day weekend is more distasteful and disrespectful than anything I thought I’d see.

“I will not be shopping at PacSun again.”

The picture was shared by users more than 6,000 times and also received massive support from customers.

Following the public attention her post received, Zawacki-Kuss expressed her intention for writing the original post, saying she is not regretful about what she wrote.

She wrote, “My point in posting the picture I had taken, and writing what I did, was to bring to the company’s attention that during a holiday weekend intended to honor military members who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country, it was not the ideal time to bring that shirt front and center.

“The American Flag is a symbol of freedom that they fought and died for. Seeing the flag used that way was incredibly upsetting to me. THAT IS ALL I WAS SAYING.”

She added, “It’s my choice to shop elsewhere. The display was in bad taste, it was disrespectful and insensitive to the sacrifices that have been made by so many service members.”

In response to scores of customer complaints the brand received regarding the t-shirt, PacSun said in a statement to E! Online, “As a retailer grounded in youth culture, PacSun values artistic and creative expression through the brands that we sell in our stores. Out of respect for those who have put their lives on the line for our country, we have decided to stop selling the licensed flag t-shirt and are removing it from our stores and website immediately. We thank the men and women in uniform for their extraordinary service.”

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