Hindu critics say Urban Outfitters’ new duvet cover featuring Lord Ganesh is insensitive to their faith and have asked that the item be pulled.
The cover, available online for $129-169, depicts the elephant-head Hindu deity who symbolizes wisdom.
Criticism of the retailer comes barely a week after Wal-Mart, Amazon and Sears came under fire for selling a commemorative poster featuring a photo from the Dachau concentration camp’s main gate.
Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, has asked Urban Outfitters to take the duvet cover off the market.
“You can put him in a frame and on the wall. That is fine,” Zed said. “But not to be put on the bed, on which you lie and your feet will go on. That is very inappropriate.”
Zed urged Urban Outfitters to remove Lord Ganesh socks from stores in December. The retailer responded by quickly pulling the socks and issuing an apology.
Urban Outfitters, which sells other Lord Ganesh items, including a tank top, pillows and wall tapestry, declined to comment.
Murali Balaji, director of education at the Hindu American Foundation, said he doesn’t think the duvet cover is offensive but it worries him about the future.
“They really don’t get it,” Balaji said, and he predicted that what he called the company’s “hipster racism” will continue.
Urban Outfitters has upset other religious groups. In 2012, the company sold a shirt that resembled the yellow Star of David patch Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany. And in March the retailer was asked to remove a shirt that said “Jesus, I’m Drunk” with a picture of Jesus holding a beer.
In the future, Balaji wants Urban Outfitters to talk to Hindu community leaders before putting items involving their religion on shelves.
Image via Casey Hugelfink.