Miley Cyrus is not the first name that comes to mind on
issues relating to gay rights; in fact the young pop star was completely off my radar until a
few days ago when, in a fit of all-caps fury,
she tweet-blasted the retail giant Urban Outfitters. The company had come under
fire — not for the first time — after an independent jewellery designer claimed
the company stole her design.
An indignant Cyrus picked up on the story and took the
opportunity to send out a series of tweets about Urban Outfitters’ ethics.
“IF WE ALLOW GAY MARRIAGE NEXT THING U KNOW PEOPLE WILL BE
MARRYING GOLD FISH” – Rick Santorum UO contributed $13,000 to this mans
campaign,” was Cyrus’s first tweet. That was quickly followed by, “Not only do
they steal from artists but every time you give them money you help finance a
campaign against gay equality.”
At first glance the pop star’s mention of goldfish may seem
obscure, but it alludes to an interview the former US senator had with the
Associated Press in 2003.
Santorum made a series of gaffes regarding homosexuality,
starting with, “I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with
He then went on to say, “The Supreme Court says that you
have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to
bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have
the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the
fabric of our society? I would argue yes.”
And finally, the nail in the coffin: “In every society, the definition of marriage has
not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on
homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the
case may be.”
Santorum has been trying to worm his way out of that
interview ever since. He hasn’t been able to. Rachel Maddow stirred
up the can of worms in a recent video, after Santorum commented on dogs peeing.
And Urban Outfitters?
Cyrus was right there, too. The retail outfitter has
been accused before of stealing designs and of being a supporter of the
In 2003, the company’s founder and president, Richard
Hayne contributed $13,000 to Santorum’s campaign coffers and Political Action Committee —
and apparently he continues to contribute.
An article in the Philadelphia Weekly in 2003 reported that, despite Urban Outfitters’ laid-back, anti-establishment look, it is “in fact a very establishment,
hypercapitalist multinational retail concern with 51 stores in North America
and flagship locations in London, Dublin and Glasgow.”
And, in case you didn’t know, Urban Outfitters also owns and
operates the Anthropologie stores, which peddle a variety of upscale apparel
and housewares, and it markets a wholesale line of housewares and apparel
called Free People.
In 2008, the company came under fire when it removed,
after offering them for sale in stores for one week, T-shirts that read, “I support same-sex marriage.”