There's an Irish T-shirt flap
BATON ROUGE - One of the largest and oldest Irish-Catholic organizations in the country is expressing their distaste for St. Patrick's Day merchandise.
The Ancient Order of Hibernians, a group made up of 40,000 members in 38 states, is outraged about "defaming and negative stereotype laden merchandise" sold at stores around the country.
" I asked them if you took these shirts and crossed out Irish and put in any other ethnic group, would they even attempt to sell these items," asked Neil Cosgrove of the National Anti-Defamation Chairman of the Hibernians. "I think the answer is no."
Popular t-shirts include "Kiss me I'm Irish," and "I'm Irish, what's your excuse?"
AOH has successfully removed Microsoft Clip Art and merchandise from Bed Bath & Beyond's Christmas Tree Shops. The organization has recently asked Walmart to cease the sale of defaming merchandise targeting Irish Americans. AOH has also reached out to the novelty store Spencer's, without any movement to pull anything from their shelves.
"Walmart has a shirt that says, 'I may not be Irish, but I can drink like one,'" said Cosgrove.
The Baton Rouge Irish Club, who was busy decorating their float Wednesday for Saturday's Wearin' of the Green St. Patrick's Day parade is not bothered by the sayings.
"I like the fact that the Irish have their own day and it is St. Patrick's Day," said Laura McDavitt. "I like the fact that everyone wants to be Irish for that day."
Club member Monica King agrees.
"They are really making a decision for everybody, who may not be part of the group, or have the same values of that group," said King.
AOH says they won't give up on stores that don't respond and will keep raising the issue until action is taken.
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