If you’re an avid consumer of pop culture then you have probably heard of the very famous Red Bubble, an online retailer that prints user-submitted art related to trending movies, shows, singers and everything else within the pop culture realm. Beloved by youngsters, Red Bubble has garnered a massive following. However, this recent hiccup is showing a slightly unpleasant side to the Australian-bred company.
Recently, Red Bubble has come under fire (no pun intended) for printing pictures of the Nazi concentration camps in Auschwitz on mini skirts (perfect for a night out to meet your buddies from your Anti-Semitic group on Facebook), pillows (if you love dreaming of merciless genocide), bags (to carry the emotional baggage that has caused you to purchase this merchandise in the first place) and T-shirts (for your casual days of being an ignorant dumbass).
Pictures of train tracks that led to the Auschwitz camps, the camps itself, as well as a picture of an electric fence with the words, “Attention! High voltage! Risk of death!” in German, were printed on the various articles of clothing as well as decorative furnishing. To make matters worse, the Nazi x Red Bubble collab was sold at prices that ranged from €13 (RM60) to €40 (RM185) which is considered steep for the online retailer.
Alarmed by the lack of respect for surviving victims of this tragedy, the Auschwitz Museum was quick to hold Red Bubble accountable on Twitter. They wrote,
.@redbubble Do you really think that selling such products as pillows, mini skirts or tote bags with the images of Auschwitz – a place of enormous human tragedy where over 1,1 million people were murdered – is acceptable? This is rather disturbing and disrespectful. pic.twitter.com/cdPvZGMXC6
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) May 7, 2019
To which Red Bubble replied,
Redbubble is the host of an online marketplace where independent users take responsibility for the images they upload. We have onsite reporting functions in place and are grateful to be made aware of these concerns. (2/2)
— Redbubble Help (@RedbubbleHelp) May 7, 2019
Personally, their response appeared very automated, insincere and frankly, it does nothing to address the gravity of the issue that has been brought to attention. It seems like the social media team over on their end are slacking on their job because this tweet fanned the already raging flames (again, no pun intended). Take a look at what Twitter had to say…
Yikes. Should have spoke to PR before that lame response.
— Lotty Earns (@lottyburns) May 7, 2019
Ridiculous response. An idiot can see what needs to be done here. Who do you think is buying this stuff?
— Jonny McFarlane (@jonnyrmcfarlane) May 7, 2019
Since then, the items have been removed from the website and Red Bubble is looking further into their Community Guidelines to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
I think the underlying issue here is a lack of sensitivity from the person who submitted this design to Red Bubble and the platform’s audacity to price it so exorbitantly. The fact that an individual could conjure the idea of capitalising and exploiting genocide (which is an event that happens to this day- refer to Xinjian camps that capture Uyghur Muslims) is unfathomable to me.
I find it hard to believe that ignorance is still possible when it comes to the Holocaust since it has been expansively detailed in many forms of art including books (The Book Thief, The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas, Diary of Anne Frank) and movies (Shoah, Schindler’s List), but if you are still unaware, here is a very brief description of the events that have since painted our history books crimson with blood.
Labelled as the most brutal mass murder to have ever happened, the events that took place in Auschwitz, the largest concentration camp during the Holocaust, have left a painful imprint on the Jewish community as well as the entire world. In January 1942, the Nazi party decided to commemorate the “Final Solution” which is essentially purposed to exterminate Jews. Other than the imprisonment, starving and burning of the Jews, Auschwitz camps also performed experimental medical procedures on the prisoners which included castration, sterilisation and testing for contagious diseases. To further illustrate the magnitude of the situation, an estimated 1.1 million Jews died in Auschwitz alone, which is not inclusive of the Jews who died in other, smaller concentration camps.
Now that you know, it is crucial to remain sensitive to the things that have negatively and permanently affected the lives of others. Death and suffering is not an edgy accessory you can flaunt to your friends or print on a pillowcase. It’s something that should be revered, respected and most importantly, not sold online.
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