A controversial T-shirt with the phrase ‘It’s okay to be white’ has been pulled from online sales site, Trade Me.
The tops sold by New Zealand business VJM Publishing had sparked a string of complaints due to its messaging, often endorsed by white supremacist organisations.
On Tuesday Trade Me’s head of Trust and Safety George Hiotakis confirmed the T-shirt had been removed from the site last Thursday after various complaints, reports Stuff, and he explained that initially the slogan didn’t “cross the line”.
He said he “knew there was some ambiguity associated with this phrase so it's been a tough one for us to wrestle with.
"But we listen to our community and we will change our mind if we feel there's a good reason to do so.”
Last week New Zealand TV presenter Kanoa Lloyd drew attention to the product, saying she “felt pretty sad” to see the T-shirt with “a favourite phrase of white supremacists”.
“Today when I read that these tshirts are available for sale in NZ I felt pretty sad (sic),” she wrote on Instagram next to a photo of her wearing the T-shirt.
“It’s a favourite phrase of white supremacists after all. But then I realised that’s the point of this message- to shock &antagonise & hurt. And obviously it IS ok to be white!!! It’s beautiful.
“So I’m choosing not to be hurt and to wear this Tee with love (and a bit of tongue in cheek). It’s ok to be any colour at all. It’s not ok to be racist, or hateful or violent. Arohanui everyone #givenothingtoracism,” she concluded.
If I delete the tweet I just go back to feeling heartbroken that this sentiment exists here in NZ. I am tired of being silenced. I don’t have the power to shut the shop down. I can only try and reclaim these words to take the sting out of them.
— Kanoa Lloyd (@KanoaLloyd) May 25, 2019
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