A clothing company has drummed up controversy for emblazoning the swastika on its merchandise. The shirts, created by KA Designs, were sold on the popular website Teespring, and featured rainbow-colored swastikas with the words “Peace,” “Zen”and “Love.”
KA Designs claims that their intention behind using the symbol commonly associated with the Nazi party was to reclaim the symbol to represent the LGBTQ community.
In their original description of the product, KA Design wrote, “Here at KA we explore boundaries. We push them forward. Let's make the Swastika a symbol of love and peace. Together, we can succeed.”
In a promotional video for the product, the company stated, “They [the Nazis] stigmatized the swastika. They won. They limited our freedom. Or maybe not? The swastika is coming back together with love, peace, respect and freedom.”
Despite their stated intentions, KA Designs has experienced significant pushback for using a symbol associated with a party and ideology responsible for the murders of millions of people including members of the Jewish and LGBTQ communities.
"I am outraged and shocked that any company would seek to profit from selling such reprehensible items,” Dr. Dvir Abramovich, the chair of the Anti-Defamation Commission in Australia told Pink News. “The swastika does not represent the LGBTI community, whose members were the victims of Hitler’s evil regime. And no, it cannot be rebranded as a symbol of peace. KA’s naïve, and in many ways, selfish attitude shows a staggering lack of concern for the feelings of those who survived the Holocaust and those who lost relatives to the monstrous deeds of the Third Reich.”
In a statement to Mic, KA Designs wrote, “We really enjoy the swastika. Not because of any of the meanings associated with it, but because of the shape and of how it looks. However, the strong bond between the swastika and Nazi values was unbreakable. We didn’t feel free. For the right reason. So we ended up using this symbol with the aim of sharing its opposite values: love, peace and freedom. Our project wants to express the victory of love and humanity against hatred and Nazism in general.”
As of Monday, the T-shirts have been removed from the Teespring website.