Urban Outfitters, a publicly traded American retail company has apologized to Hindus upset over socks carrying image of Lord Ganesh.
The company which offers a variety of lifestyle merchandise, has offered to remove it from stores and website immediately.
Sock which Hindu devotees were finding objectionable was a crew-length cotton sock topped with a Lord Ganesh graphic at the trim, which sold at $8 on website. Urban Outfitters website described it as “Awesome” and “UO Exclusive”.
In an email to Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, Crystal Carroll, Public Relations Manager of Urban Outfitters, wrote: “We sincerely apologize if we offended the Hindu community and our customers. We appreciate Rajan Zed and the Universal Society of Hinduism for bringing this matter to our attention and for helping us understand the cultural and religious sensitivities this product carries. We will remove the Ganesh Socks immediately from our website and stores.”
Mr. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, thanked Urban Outfitters for understanding the concerns of Hindu community, which thought Lord Ganesh’s image on socks was highly inappropriate.
Mr. Zed advised corporations to send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so as to have an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when creating new products or launching advertising campaigns.
Mr. Zed said that Lord Ganesh was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be wrapped around one’s foot.
Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees, he said.
Mr. Zed also pointed out that such trivialization of Lord Ganesh was disturbing to the Hindus world over.