The whole "Keep Calm and [X]" trend has been a fun little meme for merchandisers everywhere, ever since the now-public domain WWII slogan was rediscovered. But a seller on Amazon might have taken the opportunity too far. So far, in fact, that Amazon found itself having to take down some offers for a "Keep Calm and Rape Her" shirt. Ew.
The shirts, sold by a company called "Solid Gold Bomb," all utilised an easily manipulated "Keep Calm And [Transitive Verb] [Direct Object]" format. In order to maximise reach, it seems the company didn't actually make the shirts and sell them on Amazon, but rather recruited a (uncensored and poorly considered) dictionary to spit out designs and have them all made on order. At least that's their story. What could possibly go wrong?
What did go wrong was a variety of offensive transitive verb and unfortunate direct object pairings. "Keep Calm and Rape Her/Them/Him," "Keep Calm and Hit/Knife/Punch Her," and undoubtedly a variety of other unseemly madlibs. After complaints to Amazon, the listings were taken down, and now Solid Gold Bomb is crouching behind its algorithmically generated excuse. The site has shut off all its social media outlets, and has now posted the following message on the "contact us" page of its website:
We have been informed of the fact that we were selling an offensive t-shirt primarily in the UK. This has been immediately deleted as it was and had been automatically generated using a scripted computer process running against hundreds of thousands of dictionary words.
Any offensive items that are remaining are certainly in the deletion queue and will be removed as soon as the processing is complete. Although we did not in any way deliberately create the offensive t-shirts in question and it was the result of a scripted programming process that was compiled by only one member of our staff, we accept the responsibility of the error and our doing our best to correct the issues at hand.
So just keep calm, and consider them scumbags. Or lazy. Or hair-brained. One of those is bound to be accurate. [The Guardian]
Image via @feminismitten