The recent t-shirt featuring Kurt Cobain’s suicide note which was on sale on Ebay and Etsy a few weeks ago, and the ‘Elliott Smith was murdered’ shirt sold by the indie label All About Records, made me think about all the shirts that we have found offensive over the years. If you look around you, you often see people totally unafraid to wear the most outrageous things on their shirts, statements which are simply gross and disgusting, stupid sex references and even some awful and very racist declarations. I always wonder whether these people realize what they are wearing.
But I wanted to make a compilation of the most offensive shirts worn by bands or musicians, and I have found quite a few. First, when you are talking offensive (but in a good way), you have to think Morrissey! Not only Morrissey’s band wore ‘We Hate William and Kate’ t-shirts in 2012, with a super large picture of the royals in the front, but more recently (last year) he repeated the same operation with these Fuck Harvest shirts in the middle of his feud with the label. He is also selling these ‘Be Kind to Animals or I’ll Kill You’ shirts on his website, so Morrissey is the king of the offensive shirt, and this one of the reasons we love him!
What else? There were these ‘Fuck You Anderson Cooper’ shirts sold by Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan following his beef with the CNN anchor, who had made fun of his cover for PAWS. And these shirts made the news everywhere, but I got to see a few others here and there, more or less offensive, like this one, sold at Perfume Genius’s show and showing Eminem in drag, Very clever, ‘can y’all tell this is Eminem? I need it to be CLEAR’ tweeted Mike Hadreas, it was totally clear to me.
At the beginning of last year, post hardcore band Touché Amoré sold this weird one, showing the face of deceased Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps alongside the words ‘Good Riddance’. The band even said they had initially created the shirt in 2008 to go with a demo ‘WeHateFredPhelps.com’ featuring the words “We’d love to see you in the ground’. And this was truly offensive!
However, I understand Phelps being the target of an aggressive shirt campaign but Taylor Swift? Sweet poppy Taylor? Nevertheless Bad Kids Clothing did release this outrageous one featuring a list of Taylor’s ex-boyfriends (Jonas & Till & Lautner & Mayer & Gyllenhaal & Redmayne & Efron & Kennedy & Styles…who are all these people?) like the type of list you see for real bands. Her fans got really offended by it and even threatened to burn down the store, which may have been difficult since it is entirely online…. And apparently they are still selling it.
Rihanna is the queen of offensive shirt, but not in a good way, she just want to shock people, and I simply yawn! She wore this one promoting masturbation with an explicit image and a large DIY, 2 years ago, and she has often been caught wearing other ones, exposing a woman’s butt or doing some kind of sex act, but I am sure I haven’t seen half of her wardrobe! Meantime, Justin Bieber was once photographed wearing this awful one directly addressed to Cee Lo Green and his sexual prowesses, while Miley Cyrus who in general doesn’t need any shirt to shock the world, has worn a ‘Sex Drug & Rap’ shirt and another one saying, ‘I was touched by Terry’ (Richardson) yack!
I am sure there are plenty of others, but there is nothing new there, rock-pop stars have always wanted to wear stuff for shock value, decades ago many rockers found it was really cool to wear Nazi propaganda, from Sid Vicious to Scott Weiland, Lemmy, Jimmy Page,… while in the 90’s Axl Rose went on stage every night wearing a Charles Manson shirt and that was really stupid.
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