Mall-adjacent Trump supporters looking for something to wear to celebrate the soon-to-be president’s inauguration can drop on into Spencer’s Gifts for some some pro-Trump gear.
To each their own, when it comes to taste, but one particular shirt among the retailer’s offerings have people on both sides of the political aisle upset and calling for Spencer’s Gifts to pull it from shelves.
The store is selling t-shirts reading, “Grab America by the P***y,” which some people find makes light of the very serious issue of sexual assault. The t-shirt takes the words the president-elect famously uttered in a 2005 Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump talks about the privileges his fame affords him when he’s trying to woo women. “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” the now president-elect said. “And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
Of course, the notion of grabbing anyone by their genitals without their permission is one that would certainly alarm some people, regardless of political affiliation.
People voiced the outrage at the retailer for selling the piece all over social media. Facebook user Mary Numair posted an image of a rack at a store in Portland, Oregon’s Lloyd Center displaying the offending tee, which has since gone viral.
“In case anyone still needed a reason to never walk into a Spencer’s again, this is proudly being displayed in the front of their PDX store. Way to normalize sexual assault,” she wrote. “Share this. Share it loud. This is not okay.” Numair later updated the post to encourage people to contact the necessary highers-up in order to get the piece removed. And people agreed.
Made a call to Lloyd Center informing them I will not shop there until they require Spencer’s Gifts to remove apparel celebrating assault.
— E’an Todd (@EoghanBTodd) January 15, 2017
“So… exactly what was the logic behind endorsing and normalizing sexual assault?! T-shirts referring to a women’s private parts and promoting grabbing ‘America’ by the ‘pussy’ like it’s OK to grab any woman and any thing ‘by the pussy’?! Seriously?!?! WTH is wrong with you people?!??!” one outraged commenter wrote on Spencer’s Gifts’s Facebook page, which has been inundated with people imploring the company to pull the shirts.
Numair received an outpouring of private messages from people mocking her for being “too sensitive,” calling her a “retard” a “worthless human,” and the ever-popular, “snowflake.”
The general manager of Lloyd Center decried the display, telling the Oregonian, “What defies all logic to me is that Spencer Gifts would do this in spite of this being a holiday weekend recognizing a man who spent his career and gave his life to further equality and fight discrimination.” He mentioned that the manager has moved the display to the back of the store.
Spencer’s Gifts’s vice president and general counsel, Kevin Mahoney doesn’t see the issue with the shirt. “The shirt was never meant to promote any type of abuse or attack on any person.” He called the shirt “satire,” likening it to Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live.
For the record, Merriam-Webster defines satire as “a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn” and “trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly.” Wit, Irony, and sarcasm seem to be missing from this t-shirt.
Greenwich, CT Representative Town Meeting member Christopher von Keyserling was recently arrested for allegedly pinching a woman’s private parts after saying, “I love this new world, I no longer have to be politically correct.” According to Greenwich Time, von Keyserling’s lawyer called the incident, which began with a political argument, “a playful gesture,” and did not count as sexual assault. Authorities say cameras show that Keyserling did indeed touch the woman as she said he did.
We’ve reached out to Spencer’s Gifts and Numair for further comment on the matter and we will update once we hear back.