Attention turns to “tax avoidance” as Topman withdraws T shirts from sale

So Topman has withdrawn from sale the two T shirts that caused all the fuss today. The company has withdrawn the “I’m so sorry” one I wrote about in my last post, and another which implied that women were animals: “Nice new girlfriend – what breed is she”.

In a statement the company said: “We have received some negative feedback regarding two of our printed T-shirts. Whilst we would like to stress that these T-shirts were meant to be light-hearted and carried no serious meaning we have made the decision to remove these from store and online as soon as possible. We would like to apologise to those who may have been offended by these designs.”

The issue has divided opinion between those who think the slogans are just a bit of fun and those who saw an immediate connection between the wording on the products and offensive attitudes towards women.

The debate, meanwhile, has also drawn renewed attention to the ongoing controversy over Topman owner Philip Green’s tax affairs. You might remember that Green was the target of some of the anger over the protests in central London in December. Protesters claim that Green avoids paying tax by having his Arcadia retail group registered in the name of his wife, who is resident in Monaco and so enjoys a 0% income-tax rate.

More than one Tweeter this afternoon said they were more offended by Green’s alleged reluctance to pay tax than by his sexist T shirts. I suspect that in turn Green will be more pissed off about having renewed attention drawn to his financial affairs than by having to take a couple of T shirts off the shelves.

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