Gay T-Shirts In Windows A Problem For American Apparel
A local vandal may have found an antidote for the "Legalize Gay" T-shirts that have popped up in American Apparel window displays around the D.C. area—eliminate the window.
When Kassandra Powell arrived for work at the Silver Spring American Apparel store yesterday morning, she was met with a crowd, a police car, and a broken window. "I was told that the [security alarm] went off at 5:15 a.m.," she says.
Powell, a store manager, had reason to believe that the early-morning glass-shattering was more than your average retail break-in. Nothing was stolen from the store—including the anti-Prop-8 t-shirts prominently displayed on the opposite side of the glass.
This morning, the Georgetown American Apparel location experienced its own attack from an upset window shopper—this time, over the telephone. Around 10:30 a.m., visual merchandiser Walter Reed fielded a call from a male who was "enraged for no reason."
"He was like, is this the Silver Spring location? And I said, 'No, this is the Georgetown location, '" says Reed. "He said, 'You have some Legalize Gay shirts in the window there.' He said that he and his friends found it offensive, and that if we didn't take them down, they were going to break it—the window," said Reed. "I said, 'Is that a threat, Sir?' And then he hung up."
When Reed called the Silver Spring store to inform them of the threat, he was told that the location had already received the more forceful warning about its window display over 24 hours earlier. Then, Reed informed the police of the telephonic follow-up.
Reed was doing more than helping a sister store out—he personally assisted the Silver Spring location in styling its pro-gay display. "I helped do the windows there just last week," says Reed. "I know there was a Gay Beach shirt right there in the window."
For now, Reed's handiwork has been temporarily disassembled. "I took it down because of the threat," says Powell. "It’s not because we’re trying to comply with their demands or anything—we just don't want a broken window."