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Ancient Order of the Hibernians calls for Spencer’s Gifts to stop sales of defaming merchandise. Photo by: Spencer’s Gifts

Massive Irish American effort to end insulting St. Patrick’s Day gifts

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Ancient Order of the Hibernians calls for Spencer’s Gifts to stop sales of defaming merchandise. Photo by: Spencer’s Gifts

PHOTOS - OFFENSIVE PRODUCTS FROM SPENCER'S

The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) is calling on national retailer Spencer’s Gifts, a holding of Acon Investments, to immediately cease the sale of denigrating and defaming merchandise targeting Irish Americans. The AOH is the largest Irish organization in the US.

AOh National President Brendan Moore told IrishCentral that the campaign had the highest priority."No other ethnic group would stand for this type of vulgar and ignorant stereotyping,"he said."Spencer's have gone too far."

The AOH, an Irish Catholic fraternal organisation, founded in 1836, drew particular attention to a Tshirt on the company’s site with the slogan “F*** me I’m Irish”.

The AOH is calling on their “40,000 members, their families, the Irish American community and our fellow Americans of all ethnicities to send a clear message to Spencer’s that there is no room in the America of the 21st century for the bigoted Thomas Nast stereotypes of the 19th.”

In a statement they said “We feel [this] sends a clear and unequivocal message on Spencer’s view of Irish Americans, their heritage and culture.”

The Irish fraternal group is calling for Spencer’s, and their parent Acon Investments, to cease the sale of their merchandise denigrating Irish Americans and to issue a formal apology to all Irish Americans via their website.

Among the defaming items for sale on-line and at Spencer’s stores include a hat with the phrase “Irish Girl Wasted”, “St. Pats Drinking Team; Drinking Other Bitches under the Table” and another shamrock emblazoned shirt with “Drunkest Bitch at the Bar”  

The AOH’s National Anti-Defamation Chairman Neil Cosgrove said “We note that Spencer’s Gifts is a recidivist when it comes to denigrating the heritage and culture of Irish Americans. Spencer’s St. Pat’s [sic] merchandise seems to plumb new lows with each year.

“We have been told in the past by Spencer’s that this defaming merchandise is meant to be in a spirit of “fun”, yet we are not aware of Spencer’s engaging in such “humorous merchandise” relating to other heritages and their holidays.”

He added “We (thankfully) do not see such “fun” merchandise being offered by Spencer’s in conjunction with Cinco de Mayo for example.”

Spencer’s had previous informed the AOH that their group was not reflective of the company’s target market being 18 to 25 year olds.

Cosgrove noted “Not only as Irish Americans, but members of the broader community, that half of the demographic that Spencer’s is targeting with their St. Pat’s [sic] merchandise messages promoting irresponsible drinking are under age.”

Earlier this year the AOH had some success with the store Bed, Bath & Beyond, who agreed to pull offensive merchandise from their Christmas Tree stores.

However the AOH said “Spencer’s is unique in not only ignoring the concerns of Irish Americans but seemingly eager to engage in defamation and confrontation as expressed in the message of their F___ Me, I’m Irish” T-Shirt and their latest line of St. Pats [sic] merchandise.”  

The AOH is calling on their “40,000 members, their families, the Irish American community and our fellow Americans of all ethnicities to send a clear message to Spencer’s that there is no room in the America of the 21st century for the bigoted Thomas Nast stereotypes of the 19th.”

If you would like to contact Spencer’s visit their Facebook page or Twitter.

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