Culture

T-Shirt Company Refuses to Bow to Antifa, Even After Getting Smeared as 'Fascist'

A flag bearing the logo of the group Antifa is seen at a rally in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones)(Sipa via AP Images)

On Friday, the e-commerce company Teespring announced it would ban all antifa designs from its platform, citing a “recent increase of violent content.” The group Antifa International did not take kindly to the news, but Teespring stood firm despite accusations of fascism. Teespring is a platform that allows people to create and sell custom apparel.

“[Teespring] just shut down our t-shirt fundraiser. Why? Because our shirts contain the word ‘antifa,'” Antifa International announced on Twitter. The group cited a Teespring email announcing the cancellation. “The listing was removed for the use of ‘Antifa’ which is in violation of our acceptable use policy and not permitted on Teespring.com,” the email explained.

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Ironically, Antifa International claimed that the word “antifa” does not “glorify violence,” right before complaining that the company removed its “This Hammer Smashes Fascists” campaign.

Later on in the Twitter thread, Antifa International suggested Teespring might be on the side of “bigotry, fascism, and hatred.”

“If [Teespring] doesn’t want anti-fascists to use their platform, they should be honest about their reasons. Not doing so leads one to speculate about what side they’re on in the fight against bigotry, fascism, and hatred,” the group tweeted.

Rather than caving to this outrageous accusation, Teespring defended its decision.

“Teespring is not a fascist company,” the company tweeted. “Due to the recent increase of violent Antifa content, we have removed all Antifa related listings until we are able to review the intent behind the designs. Reviewing this content will take some time, so we appreciate your understanding.”

Teespring arguably undersold the case — but that might be the point. The t-shirt company could have mentioned the antifa rioters who have engaged in wanton destruction and attacks on the police in Portland, Seattle, and Chicago. Yet had Teespring done so, Antifa International would likely have further accused the company of “fascism” and launched a broader movement against it. The vague mention of “violent Antifa content” allows Teespring to explain its policy without further enflaming antifa.

Furthermore, the company explained that the worrisome violent content it intends to combat comes from both “pro-Antifa and anti-Antifa” sources. For this reason, Teespring “temporarily” removed the word “so we could provide a more in depth review of the content.”

As it stands, Antifa International’s claims seem ridiculous. The group demonized Teespring for allowing the Proud Boys to use its platform, citing the far-left scandal-plagued smear factory the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in branding the Proud Boys a “hate group.” The organization continued to slam Teespring as “fascist,” just as so many antifa activists demonize anyone who disagrees with them as “fascist.”

“It’s 2020. If your company has to publicly state ‘we’re not a fascist company; we’ve just removed anything that says antifa on it,’ while continuing to sell stuff that supports fascist groups, you’re not really convincing anyone of your non-fascist credentials,” Antifa International tweeted.

Teespring may or may not make the ban on the term “antifa” permanent. Yet this policy does not prove the company is “fascist.” Far from it.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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