MANILA – (UPDATE 2) SM is investigating how a t-shirt that defends and promotes rape found its way into the shopping mall giant’s stores.
In a statement posted on Twitter on Tuesday, SM assured the public that the shirt “will be pulled out immediately.”
“We’ve been informed via social media that we might be stocking a t-shirt with a message that we too find unacceptable. We are investigating on how it was even displayed and will be pulled out immediately,” SM said.
An updated statement from SM added: "We do not tolerate such action. SM does not support such irresponsible and malicious acts that mock important and sensitive social issues. We have immediately pulled out all the t-shirts of the consignor that distributes them, and we are investigating why it was included in our delivery of assorted t-shirts."
SM also vowed that "appropriate action will be taken to ensure that this does not happen again."
On Monday, writer and poet Karen Kunawicz posted a photo of a shirt sold in SM that said “It’s not rape, it’s a snuggle with a struggle,” sparking outrage among Filipino netizens.
Several Internet users found the message of the shirt “disgusting,” “twisted” and “wrong,” with others urging SM to stop selling the shirts and issue a public apology.
Gabriela slams ‘rape’ shirt
Meanwhile, women’s party-list Gabriela slammed SM for displaying and selling the controversial t-shirt.
“The shopping mall had the gall to market that offending shirt in the boy’s section, and what message does this send to teen men about taking liberties with women? The managers of the mall should realize that exploiting this wrong message just to maximize profits can perpetuate anti-women attitudes and violent behavior,” Gabriela rep. Emmi De Jesus said in a statement.
Gabriela said it is set to file a resolution that investigates the “sale, advertising and display of merchandise, services and performances that degrade, objectify and promote violence against women” as following the discovery of the sale of “rape” shirt in malls.