A controversial swastika t-shirt intended to change perception of the Nazi symbol has been removed from sale following Jewish News’ intervention.
KA Design apologised for offence caused after it ran a line of T-shirts, which placed the symbol on a rainbow background and included the words, “peace”, “zen” and “love”.
The swastika – adopted as the symbol of the Nazi party – is still synonymous today with the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and racial hatred.
The clothing company has since said sorry for attempting to rebrand the symbol back to its original roots as a 5,000-year-old good luck symbol used in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.
“We believe in a world of never ending kindness and infinite forgiveness: we forgive and we ask to be forgiven”, it told Jewish News.
The products are no longer on sale, after its campaign was disabled by the Online retailer Teespring, which had been stocking the t-shirts.
In a video posted on the company’s Facebook page “introducing the new Swastika”, KA Design said it wanted to rid the “stigma” of the infamous symbol.
The company added: “We celebrate freedom. We want to explore our boundaries and push them forward. We love humanity, love and peace. We are KA.”
Since it was first posted on 12 July, the video has been viewed 1.8million times and attracted 15,000 comments, many of them critical.
One viewer wrote: “You cannot turn the symbol of the murderous Nazis, the symbol under which my grandparents and aunts and uncles and countless cousins were murdered, back into a sign of peace and love. You cannot rewrite history. This is an obscene idea. Please stop in the name of the murdered millions and their descendants.”
Another commented: “With all the design options out there, why choose one that is so stigmatised and SO HURTFUL to a population who lost family due to the profound hatred surrounding this symbol. It doesn’t matter if you turn it diagonally, colour it with rainbow colours or adorn it with smileys. It will always have a negative connotation…Please consider dumping this hideous symbol.”
Responding to the anger KA Design said: “We understand and accept every criticism. However, we didn’t expect so much hate from people. Our project goes strictly against Nazi values and doesn’t in any way support them.”
When asked if Teespring was right to stop stocking the products, KA Design added: “no. But we understand the pressure they went through. People started accusing the company and boycotting it. The truth is, Teespring is not in any way involved in this project and in the (positive) values behind it.”
“We would like to ask forgiveness to Teespring and we are ready for further collaborations.