University of Alabama Fan Celebrates Football Game by Selling Hate Crime T-Shirts
In preparation of their upcoming game against LSU on January 9, University of Alabama students will be wearing t-shirts promoting a hate crime. The plan is for thousands of Alabama Crimson Tide fans to flood Bourbon Street, home to some of the oldest gay watering holes in the country, dressed in t-shirts that read:
HEY HOMEAUXS – WE JUST BEAT THE HELL OUT OF YOU.
As if using violent assaults against LGBT victims as a pun to sell college football merchandise wasn’t bad enough, the printer’s French is also atrocious. Aux is already plural, and in no need of an S.
The Hey Homeauxs shirts are being sold at Heyhomeauxs.com. It’s unclear if this is official university merchandise, or just the “brilliant” idea of a student badly in need of expelling. The contact information for the site has been taken down, but a little snooping shows that the website was registered by someone by the name of Chris Ivey.
What do you think about the latest in hate crime chic?
***Update: It looks like the site has been taken down. Was it something we said? Luckily, we took a screenshot before it was pulled. If you know who Chris Ivey is, we’d love to hear from you. Shoot us an email.
***Update 9:26 AM: We’ve found our man. This Chris Ivey “liked” the Hey Homeauxs page on Facebook back on November 1, the day the site was created.
It also looks like the shirt is being printed at Triton Team Apparel Specialists, where Chris Ivey is listed as the CEO/Owner. You can contact him at [email protected] or 334.300.0067. Please be sure to CC his business partner Jordan Mills [email protected] and the University of Alabama copyright infringement department [email protected].
Update 3:09 PM: After speaking with Chris Ivey, and the University of Alabama’s Director of Media Relations, I wanted to update everyone on the conversations I’ve had with both.
I spoke with Chris Bryant from the University of Alabama earlier today, and he just sent over the school’s statement regarding the shirts:
Well, we’re all in agreement there.
I also spoke with Chris Ivey this afternoon, after he called me to apologize. As many of you have pointed out to me in emails, Chris has taken the time to individually apologize to everyone who has written him. I can’t stress enough how genuinely apologetic he was during the ten minutes we spoke. Chris claims that the shirts were never actually produced, and even if they were, his business would not have been the one to produce them. I am however skeptical of this claim, considering his website boasts “Triton offers free full-service screen-printing and embroidery on all of our garments.” There were also 179 “likes” on the page before it was taken down.
Chris claims that the line about “beating the hell out of you” comes from the University of Alabama’s fight song, Rammer Jammer, and that he in no way meant to imply violence against the LGBT community. With that said, he seemed puzzled when I asked him why he didn’t consider that the enormous “HEY HOMEAUXS” would also be offensive to gays. It sounds like this shirt was born out of ignorance, and not animosity – but does that detract from the fact that the shirt was being produced at all or that drunken Alabama students were to wear them in gay-friendly New Orleans?
Chris made an impassioned plea for me to remove his business information from this post before we got off of the phone. He said because of my article, he was visited by the local television station’s reporters this afternoon, and that he used the time on air to apologize once more.
When we got off the phone, I was genuinely torn. I spoke to my partner Nick about Chris’ request, and he asked me point blank, “Do you want to ruin this guy’s life and business?” My answer is of course not. I’m a small business owner myself, and ruining lives isn’t a motivation that factors into my role in this company at any time.
What I am concerned with is treating the lives of LGBT persons with dignity and respect, and lending a voice to those without one. And in this situation, I just cannot get over the fact that had I not done a bit of investigative work and written this piece, Hey Homeauxs would still be online selling those t-shirts today. Having millions of people read your work brings both power and responsibility, and for me, my responsibility is to the LGBT community and the readers who put their trust in me.
Shortly after writing this article today, I had to write about a couple in Santa Barbara that was violently beaten by a group of men on New Year’s Eve because they were gay. There’s even video of the assault taking place. And after wrestling with this for the better part of the day, it is my belief that being raked over the coals for a business decision that implies violence toward gay people is simply not on the same level as actually being on the receiving end of violence because you are a gay person.
Chris and I both have received plenty of emails today from Alabama natives who explain that this shirt is symptomatic of the homophobic culture in much of the state. That it didn’t occur to Chris that his shirts were wildly inappropriate is tantamount to the fact that homophobia exists largely unchecked in his neck of the woods. For the record, I do believe Chris’ claim that he’s not made of hate. But at the end of the day, I’m still left looking at a situation in which had I not stepped in, I would have been confronted with homophobia in my new hometown. And I’m just not interested in that in any way.
The post stays up.