SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Urban Outfitters’ use of symbols reminiscent of Nazi oppression on home decor has sparked outrage in gay and Jewish communities here in the Bay Area, and around the world.

Tuesday, the LGBT community joined the Anti-Defamation League to condemn Urban Outfitter’s appropriation of the pink triangle Nazis forced gay prisoners to wear in Nazi concentration camps.

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The triangles are superimposed on blankets with a washed-out grey and white striped motif that echoes the pattern on the uniforms Jewish people wore in the concentration camps. The retailer calls these so-called “tapestries” the “perfect piece for topping off your bed, wall, or favorite chair.”

The ADL issued a statement Monday demanding the retailer remove the tapestries from their stores, calling the design “eerily reminiscent of clothing forced upon the victims of the Holocaust.”

“Whether intentional or not, this gray and white striped pattern and pink triangle combination is deeply offensive and should not be mainstreamed into popular culture,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor.

Every year in San Francisco, gay rights activists install a large pink triangle atop Twin Peaks for Gay Pride Day.

Saul Sainz, V-P of Communications for the Human Rights Campaign said Urban Outfitters use of the symbol “is an affront to LGBT people, Holocaust survivors, their families and anyone with an ounce of humanity.”

Pink Triangle

The Pink Triangle on Twin Peaks marks the start of Gay Pride Weekend in San Francisco. (CBS)


This is not the first time the Philadelphia-based retailer has provoked an outcry over the use of symbols. The store has marketed t-shirts in “Obama/Black,” and Kent State sweatshirts that appeared to have bullet holes and blood stains. The ADL has admonished them for putting a Star of David on t-shirts the company said were not meant for sale.

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Urban Outfitters has since apologized for these incidents, but has not addressed the current complaints about the tapestries.