Topman Issue Apology After Liverpool Fans Deride Retailer Over No.96 ‘Karma’ Shirt Design (Photo)

Chris Wright

16th, March 2018


Topman have apologised after Liverpool fans took issue with a shirt on sale on the retailer’s website which appeared, at least on first glance, to make reference to the Hillsborough disaster and ‘karma’.

The red long-sleeved shirt features a large ’96’ on the reverse along with the phrase “What goes around comes back around” and the word “Karma” printed on the sleeve.

Photo: Topman/Twitter

Of course, the shirt provoked a wave of consternation, with Alison McGovern, MP for Wirral South, one of the many Liverpudlians leading calls for Topman to remove the garment from sale…

While it’s easy to see how the message could be misconstrued (what was your first thought when you saw it?), Topman have since issued an apology explained that the design was an innocent reference to a Bob Marley song released in 1996 called ‘What Goes Around Comes Around’.

Here be that statement (via BBC North West):

Topman apologises unreservedly for any offence caused by this t-shirt. The design was inspired by a Bob Marley track with the number referring to the year of re-release.

The garment has been removed from sale online and in stores.

Yep. That’s probably for the best.

Might be good practice to have a little think about the wider implications the next time you go sticking fatuous statements on a t-shirt.

Posted in Liverpool

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  1. Tom says:

    Completely disagree. The explanation of the shirt referencing a Bob Marley song is perfectly reasonable.

    Clearly Hillsborough is a hugely emotional issue but that doesn’t mean any reference to the no. 96 has to tied back to it.

    Everyone is outraged about anything. It’s fucking exhausting.

    • jackie wilshere says:

      agree 100%. Topman is a business thats out to make money, i cant see them going out of their way to insult liverpool fans especially over something that everyone can agree was and still is disastrous.

  2. Eeny says:

    Agree with Tom. And those who aren’t directly offended will be offended on behalf of others because apparently if it’s offensive to one person then it’s offensive.

    What would have happened if the shirt had been blue?

  3. Haywired says:

    Isn’t it a bit odd to have the year of the song’s release so prominent? I mean, were they like “We want a top with a line from a Bob Marley song on it, but by far the biggest, most important thing on the top should be the year that the song came out; 96. That’s the most important and memorable thing about the song.”

    • PetrovskyKSC says:

      I had the same question in mind after reading the statement. Nobody would ever recall that the song was released in 1996, since it didn’t really have anything to do with the big man as he was long gone at the time. And why did they have to have it red? I am certainly not a person who easily buys into conspiracies, yet this incident seems pretty suspicious.

    • jackie wilshere says:

      i think the 96 is so prominent coz they wanted it to look like a squad number. really stretching to make these connections and be offended

  4. Comfy Chair says:

    What about referring to Lennon’s “INSTANT KARMA” instead? He WAS from Liverpool wasn’t he?????

    Why was this produced in the first place? What does a JAMAICAN musician have to do with Liverpool anyway?

    Other concerns above also make sense….

  5. Rob says:

    Comfy chair
    Lennon was an amazing person but as far as I know was not a time traveler. Hillsborough was in 1989, quite a while after John had written the song, he was also dead.

  6. Mr Sensible says:

    Isn’t the number 69 prominent because as well as being the year it was released (which isn’t really that big a deal) the number itself is symmetrical which fits in with the ‘what goes around comes around’ slogan below it?

    I get why certain people will be offended and upset but at the same time no idiot would make a t-shirt mocking the Hillsbrough tragedy. I also think that it’s too much to expect no one to ever use the number 96 with the colour red, I’d imagine the vast majority of people in the world have no idea of the possible reference to Hillsbrough.

  7. JP says:

    Nobody is trying to impede your rights to be vicious cunts, guys! You’d be better off keeping it to yourselves though. Get off your soapboxes about why people are wrong to be offended- you’re just getting yourselves worked up.

    Whether the offense was caused by accident or design doesn’t mean people aren’t entitled to their feelings.

  8. Beano says:

    British politicians seem to spend the majority of their time focusing on nothing of substance.

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