Angry Hindus are calling for the immediate recall of a line of Lord Ganesh socks from Urban Outfitters. The $8 red crew socks have blue toes and a graphic print of Lord Ganesh on the ankle. The company socks describes the Ganesh socks as “Awesome” and “UO Exclusive.”
But according to a statement from Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, “Lord Ganesh was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be wrapped around one’s foot. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.”
Zed is calling for the socks to be removed immediately from Urban Outfitters stores and websites. He is also urging UO execs to offer an apology for the misstep.
We doubt that will happen, because Urban Outfitters has never been the least offensive company in the world. It offends with such regularity we can only assume the insensitivity is intentional. The best we can hope for is that a controversy will get big enough that Urban Outfitters quietly yanks all the products and pretends they sold out all at once.
The sock line in question also includes a similar pair of green socks with Jesus on the ankle.
“Sacred socks in soft knit cotton that are so comfy you’ll feel like you’re walking on water. Crew length fit topped with a Jesus graphic and colorblock detailing at the toe, trim and heel. UO Exclusive,” the ad copy reads. The socks are $8 per pair or 3 for $20, so you can buy in bulk and offend a whole ton of people at once. You’ll never offend as many people as Urban Outfitters, though, because Urban Outfitters is an asshole.
Back in 2004 Urban Outfitters caused a similar issue with its “Dress Up Jesus” magnet set, which let people put different clothes on Jesus refrigerator magnets, including a tutu and other accessories. A spokesperson for the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said at the time that the kits were “ultimately disrespectful to billions of Christians around the world.” The dress-up kits were eventually pulled.