For immediate release
The Ancient Order of Hibernians Condemns Spencer’s Gifts for their Promotion of Defaming Irish Stereotypes, Denigration of Women and Promotion of St. Patrick’s Day Binge Drinking
New City, New York – 2/23/15 – The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH)
The Ancient Order of Hibernians condemns the defaming Irish stereotypes and messages promoted by Spencer Gift’s “St. Pat’s” [sic] merchandise line and the attempts by Spencer’s to debase by their merchandise St. Patrick’s Day into an excuse for binge drinking and licentious behavior. The Hibernians also condemn the fact that many of Spencer’s “St. Pat’s” [sic] items specifically target young women with denigrating messaging and encourage dangerously demeaning attitudes in connection with the celebration of Ireland’s Patron Saint and the contributions of Irish Americans.
Per AOH National Anti-Defamation Chairman Neil Cosgrove:
“In what has become a sad yearly tradition, Spencer’s Gift’s once again seeks to profit by defaming the Irish American community. Yet again Spencer’s has rolled out the same old bigoted tropes with hats and T-shirts emblazoned with ‘Irish Drinking Team’, and the ‘Drunk-o-Meter’ hat. In the past, spokesmen for Spencer’s have attempted to defend these shameful products by attributing it to their irreverent style of humor, but the Hibernians note it appears that only Irish Americans are targeted by Spencer’s for this “irreverent” treatment of their holiday and their culture.
The Hibernians are also troubled by new merchandise that not only plumbs new lows in denigrating Irish Americans, but also promote a degrading and abusive image of women. At a time when Colleges and Universities across the country are confronting an epidemic of sexual assault and abuse, should Spencer’s be selling a hat to their self-professed demographic of 18-24 year olds with the message “I Came Here to Drink and F*ck B*tches” as part of their “St. Pat’s” [sic] merchandise? At a time when the American Association of University Women (AAUW) has identified alcohol as “the most widely used date-rape drug” should any firm irresponsibly target for the “greening of the till” 18-24 year old women with merchandise promoting binge drinking such as “Let’s Get Shamwrecked” or a shamrock decorated “Everyone Loves a Drunk Girl” cup? Finally, should any firm profit from promoting the bigoted/exploitive message emblazoned on a Spencer’s shot glass “Your Mom’s not Irish, but I F*cked her anyway”? Would society tolerate it, and would Spencer’s dare sell this abhorrent item, if “Irish” was replaced by another ethnic group? “
The Ancient Order of Hibernians calls upon its members and all who believe that in the 21st century there is no place for defaming ethnic based stereotypes nor the promotion of degrading and abusive images of women that Spencer’s Gifts merchandise promotes to speak out by calling Acon Investments, the investment firm which owns Spencer’s at (202) 454-1100
About the Ancient Order of Hibernians
Founded in 1836 with some 40,000 members covering 38 states, the Ancient Order of Hibernians is the oldest and largestIrish-Catholic Organization in the United States
Contact information (press members only):
Neil F. Cosgrove, National Anti-Defamation Chairman
Ancient Order of Hibernians