Amazon and Rape Culture: “Keep Calm” T-shirts Promote Domestic Violence and Make Profits

By Saswat Pattanayak Until yesterday, Amazon on its UK website was selling t-shirts emblazoned with slogans such as “Keep Calm and Rape Me” and “Keep Calm and Hit Her”. After due protests, the pages for these items have been removed.

What’s more disturbing is that the company which produces these clothing items, Solid Gold Bomb (based in Australia and operates/ships in the United States), has been doing just fine. In fact, they have been boasting that they sold over a million t-shirts during the global financial crisis. Not to mention, some of their greatest hits had indeed carried slogans such as “Keep Calm and Choke Her”, “Keep Calm and Grope On” and “Keep Calm and Knife Her”.

That a company which makes money off promoting domestic violence and rape continues to operate today is as shocking as is the fact that it gets promoted by the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon. When any item gets listed for a store, physical or online, it does get approved at several levels. And how such T-shirts got approved for sale at the first place remains a difficult question.

Because the answers have been less than convincing.

Solid Gold Bomb’s official response through the website has blamed it all on a “computer process”, absolving the company of any wrongdoing. And clearly evading any accountability, the company has said that it “did not in any way deliberately create the offensive T-shirts in question”.

Corporate culture is rich with sexism, and as this specific incident suggests, it continues to profit enormously from advocating violence against women.