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T-shirt controversy: Keep Calm and Carry

This is one of the several examples of Solid Gold Bomb’s controversial T-shirts, which caused an uproar over their negative and offensive content. They were removed from their website after discovery.

Emily Hepner
Features Writer

“Keep Calm and Carry On” started as a propaganda slogan by the British government in the World War II era, urging their people to do what the slogan suggested in a time where an air attack was a possibility at any moment. In more recent times, this slogan, which can be found on a whole host of products, has become a trend and has been modified to fit anyone’s interest.
The sayings range from “Keep Calm and Love Justin Bieber” to “Keep Calm and Use The Force” with a Darth Vader helmet replacing the royal crown. However, the more popularity the war slogan gains, the more abuse it has been seeing.
Earlier this month, an Australian T-shirt company, Solid Gold Bomb, used the slogan in a very negative way. The T-shirts they were selling, through their website and Amazon, had sayings such as “Keep Calm and Rape A Lot,” “Keep Calm and Knife Her” and “Keep Calm and Choke Her.”

This is one of the several examples of Solid Gold Bomb’s controversial T-shirts, which caused an uproar over their negative and offensive content. They were removed from their website after discovery.
This is one of the several examples of Solid Gold Bomb’s controversial T-shirts, which caused an uproar over their negative and offensive content. They were removed from their website after discovery.

“It’s really disgusting to promote such horrible acts,” said sophomore Lillie Manning. “I think it’s terrible that they would associate calmness with such violent acts like rape or being physically abused or assaulted.”
The company claimed that they did not realize that these shirts were being offered on both of these websites and stated that these phrases are “the result of a programming process that was compiled by one staff member.”
The programmer issued an individual apology, taking full responsibility for it and saying that it is not the company’s fault. The statement also says that the programmer does not condone rape and that neither does the company.
Their excuse has, not surprisingly, caused some complaints. Emer O’Toole, journalist for The Guardian, bashed Solid Gold Bomb for their lack of responsibility with the matter. She believes that they are using the algorithm used for the program that generated the shirts to be an excuse.
O’Toole brings up an excellent point by stating that an employee of the company is the one who wrote the algorithm for the program and that there should have been more control on what was being written for their programs.
“I don’t think it is right to completely blame technology when humans are behind the creation of these programs,” said sophomore Sarah Omlor. “I feel that in a way the programmer and the company almost took only half the responsibility and left the rest to be blamed on the computers. They should have taken all the responsibility and just left technology out of it.”
Since the incident, both Amazon and Solid Gold Bomb have removed the “Keep Calm” shirts. Across many social networking sites, the word of these T-shirts spread and so did people’s disgust. Many people took to Twitter to tweet at the company and express to them their anger with these shirts. Since this incident, Solid Gold Bomb has deleted their Twitter account.
Solid Gold Bomb is a quirky T-shirt website with a wide variety of designs illustrated across the shirts they offer and this can be seen if you take a scroll along their webpage. It’s pretty evident that the shirts they were offering are not their usual style, but it does not warrant them a get out of jail free card. This incident really shows how desensitized people can be to rape and violence, but also shows that many people are tired of how people will turn these acts into a joke when it is no laughing matter.