In a Nutshell
*Café Press removed the shirt following public backlash.
*The shirt was available on the site just days after journalists were murdered in Maryland.
An imprinted T-Shirt that advocates murdering journalists by lynching them was selling online again – this time on Café Press, a web-based online retailer of stock and user-customized merchandise. The revelation comes only days after a gunman reportedly targeted and murdered journalists at a newspaper in Maryland.
The shirt reads, “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required.” Café Press received criticism for hosting the shirts for sale on its platform.
I just wrote to Cafe Press, which was identified as the source for the " Rope Tree Journalist" tees and merchandise. I asked them to remove products with that message from their inventory. I'll let you know what they say. If there are any other sources, let me know. #NOLYNCHING— Susan Kramer (@kramer_susan) July 2, 2018
In the wake of such reactions, Café Press decided to remove the shirt. Still, it also tried to wash its hands of responsibility.
First appearing a couple years ago at a supporters' gathering for then presidential candidate Donald Trump, the “Rope. Tree. Journalist” message shirts had previously popped up for sale on web-based custom product platform Teespring and Walmart’s online marketplace. Walmart and Teespring removed the shirts following public backlash.
Still, the shirt advocating lynching journalists wasn’t the only custom merchandise item that Café Press has come under fire for selling lately. Journalist Patricia Lopez found the below beach towel for sale when looking for towels for her children last week. The doctored image depicts former President Barack Obama with gang members. The politically charged message appears to convey that all Mexican immigrants are criminals -- gang members -- who are supported by Democrats.
What?!? @cafepress please tell me this is not real?! After looking for some cute beach towels for my girls, I came across this for sale on your website. #ABC13 I’d like a response. #BeachTowels #MexicanImmigrants pic.twitter.com/t6hJWyXBBP— Patricia Lopez (@PatriciaOnTV) June 29, 2018
Café Press responded to Lopez to say it was removing the image:
They are blocking the image Patricia. It should be removed from our site within 72 hours. Thanks for letting us know about this! 😊— CafePress (@cafepress) June 29, 2018
During the first quarter of its fiscal year 2018, Café Press’ year-over-year revenue declined. It also experienced a greater net loss than the prior year’s first quarter.