There is growing outrage online surrounding the back of a new Topman jumper with the words ‘what goes around comes back around’.
The red jumper is accompanied by the number 96 in large print, which some people online have taken to be a veiled threat regarding the Hillsborough disaster, which left 96 people dead.
People on Twitter have been debating about whether there is a hidden meaning behind the jumper, and whether such a ‘misguided’ design could make it to the shelves.
That “96” jumper from Topman is absolutely shocking. I’m sure whoever designed it has no knowledge of Hillsborough but surely someone should have realised this was a terrible idea. pic.twitter.com/ARV23BDDeG
— Sibs (@SibsMUFC) March 15, 2018
@Topman Seriously? This is abhorrently offensive to those 96 Liverpool FC supports who lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster…
"What goes around comes around"
What in the actual fuck were you thinking with this?
Titled "Red 'Goes Around' T-shirt' on your site. pic.twitter.com/qqHl7eIIQS
— TheRightOne (@TheRightOne999) March 15, 2018
One user wrote:
The design and colour of the thing immediately suggests Liverpool. It is absolutely insane that made it past the boardroom.
Hillsborough isn’t an exclusive to sports that that not everyone knows about, it’s often made headlines for almost 30 years. Someone has to know.
Another has said that while the jumper may not have been an intended barb at the disaster, rival fans will use the garment to ‘take the p*ss’.
— Lee Walls (@LAW150489) March 15, 2018
— Klipperty (@klipperty) March 15, 2018
Others have been quick to point out the jumper may well have been a reference to a 1996 album released by Bob Marley called ‘What Goes Around Comes Around.’
One user wrote:
Regarding the Topman jumper everyone is upset about, a Bob Marley album called ‘What Goes Around Comes Around’ was release in ’96.
There’s also a jumper they’re selling with ’95 on it that also says NINETEEN NINETY FIVE.
This is likely not a reference to Hillsborough.
Regarding the Topman jumper everyone is upset about, a Bob Marley album called 'What Goes Around Comes Around' was release in '96. There's also a jumper they're selling with 95 on it that also say' NINETEEN NINETY FIVE' underneath. This is likely not a reference to Hillsborough.
— Plastic Mouldsman (@MouldsmanP) March 15, 2018
Topman are yet to respond to the allegations, but this is likely just another example of an PR mistake which will result in some very angry customers.
At the time of writing, the jumper is still available for sale.
Back in January, H&M faced similar backlash over a controversial advert for a hoodie.
@hm this is disgusting & irresponsible. You know the history of racist using the term “monkey” to demean people of African descent… and you put this on your website! ???? “Coolest Monkey In the Jungle” #SMH pic.twitter.com/IY877D2d8R
— Karamo Brown (@KaramoBrown) January 8, 2018
On January 8 the advert for a £7.99 green hooded children’s top emblazoned with the phrase ‘Coolest Monkey In The Jungle’ was taken down after people noticed that it was modelled by a black child while the other items in the range were modelled by white children.
The advert went viral on Twitter as thousands took to the site to criticise the store for its astonishing lack of awareness pointing out that ‘monkey’ has been a long-term racist slur.
Karamo Brown voiced his anger writing:
This is disgusting and irresponsible. You know the history of racists using the term ‘monkey’ to demean people of African descent… and you put this on your website! ‘Coolest Monkey In the Jungle’
#EFF protesters have shut down #H&M in Canal Walk Cape Town because they are furious over the company's #coolestmonkeyinthejungle t-shirt modelled on a black child. @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/NfwLC9pKiw
— Jenni Evans (@itchybyte) January 13, 2018
H&M issued an apology on Instagram for the advert stating:
We understand that many people are upset about the image of the children’s hoodie. We, who work at H&M, can only agree.
We’re deeply sorry that the picture was taken and we also regret the actual print.
Therefore, we’ve not only removed the image from our channels but also the garment from our product offering.
Our position is simple – we have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry.
While the store itself apologised, the mother of the child in the photo labelled the backlash ‘unnecessary’.