Offensive T-Shirt Spreads Hatred Toward People With Disabilities
Update — Tues. Oct. 20 — SunFrog Shirts responded to The Mighty’s request for comment on Tuesday, Oct. 20. Kirk Yodzevicis, General Counsel for SunFrog Shirts, said the design has been removed and the account of the person who uploaded it has been shut down permanently. SunFrog does not create the designs sold on their site, they only provide the platform for them to be sold. Yodzevicis said they currently have around 4 million designs on the site and do their best to monitor them, however occasionally some slip by. Still, they have a terms and conditions agreement in place to prevent the sale of offensive items like the one below. The user who uploaded the design was in violation of the terms and agreements, and all of their designs, even ones not considered offensive, have been banned from the site. Yodzevicis told The Mighty that it appears not a single shirt with the offensive design below was sold during the time it was up on the site. SunFrog is in the process contacting Risko to apologize to her directly.
“We don’t approve of situations like this, we don’t approve of designs like this and when we find out about them we take it very seriously,” Yodzevicis told The Mighty. “We don’t approve of this in either a professional or personal capacity. We have compassion, many of us have friends and acquaintances with disabilities, in fact several people who work here have disabilities. We’re very sorry that this has occurred and we’re very grateful that it was brought to our attention.”
Sarah Risko was recently browsing the website of a T-shirt company called SunFrog Shirts. Risko, from Brookline, Massachusetts, has worked with adults with developmental disabilities for close to five years and was looking for a shirt saying something about direct care staff workers having superpowers.
Instead, she found this:
The shirt reads, “I freaking hate adults with disabilities.” It’s on sale for $19 and under the site’s “Funny” category.
Risko, who has four learning disabilities and fine/gross motor dysfunction from undergoing chemotherapy as a child, was upset.
“The shirt made me extremely angry when I saw it. How can a shirt like that even be allowed to be sold?” Risko told The Mighty in an email. “This is simply not OK and the people who run the site need to know that.”
“I would like to have the shirt removed from the site,” she added, “and have the company and creator of the shirt issue an apology.”
SunFrog Shirts is in the process of taking additional steps to ensure that the design is removed from anywhere else on the web, like Facebook, where it may still be found. Readers aware of additional postings, please feel free to contact SunFrog at email@example.com.