For some, the 2016 presidential election was a choice between advancing the feminist movement by electing Democrat Hillary Clinton, or repressing it by electing Republican Donald Trump. With Trump's election, many grew concerned that sexual assault and harassment were being normalized.
Now, Spencer's Gifts, a national chain that sells novelty items, is facing widespread criticism for its part in normalizing sexual assault. According to BuzzFeed, a Spencer's store in Portland, Oregon, was spotted selling T-shirts that read, among others, "Grab America By The P***y" and "Deal With It."
"In case anyone still needed a reason to never walk into a [Spencers] again, this is proudly being displayed in the front of their PDX store," wrote writer and humorist Mary Numair on Twitter.
"The shirt was never meant to promote any type of abuse or attack on any person," Kevin Mahoney, vice president and general counsel of Spencer's told The Oregonian on Jan. 16. Mahoney added that the shirts were meant to be satire and compared them to comedian Alec Baldwin's portrayal of Trump on NBC's comedy sketch show, "Saturday Night Live".
"The shirt originates with the comment made by the president-elect," Mahoney continued. "The purpose of that shirt was to address that controversy and that news, and not in any way to condone that type of activity."
"It's not about taking them to the back of the store and selling them from there," said Lisa Ortiz, who arranged a Jan. 16 protest of the Spencer's store in Portland. "It's about making a profit off of rape culture, and we're done."
"Apparently [Spencers] is pro-sexual assault, which is a curious thing to be, really," Jessica Luther, a journalist and author, tweeted on Jan. 16. "But I guess if you can make a buck off of it."
"This tee shouldn't have made it past the pitch room, [Spencers]," John Gholson, a writer and comedian, tweeted the same day. "Not a matter of being offended; it's elevating sex assault as patriotism."
The T-shirts were no longer on the sales floor at that particular branch of the store on Jan. 16.