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CafePress 'Racist' T-Shirt Pulled From Online Store

First Posted: 10/31/11 10:15 PM ET Updated: 10/31/11 10:17 PM ET

Cafepress Illegal Alien

Bay Area-based online retailer CafePress has removed a line of t-shirts promoting "illegal immigrant hunting" after activist Victor Hoelscher submitted a petition urging CafePress to "cease sale and distribution of the racist 'illegal Alien Hunting Permits.'"

The line in question featured a graphic meant to emulate a hunting permit, including the words, "illegal immigrant hunting permit, no bag limit, tagging not required" -- words that Hoelscher argued "clearly incited violence."

"This product has absolutely no use other than to spread, incite, promote and justify racial hatred, violence, xenophobia, and other forms of hatred based on intolerance and to demonize immigrants as invaders who should be shot on sight," he wrote. "There is no place in today's society for a corporation that seeks to profit from invoking dehumanizing, racist stereotypes and bigotry."

And it seems CafePress agreed. According to SF Weekly, the company removed the line from its online store within four days of receiving the petition. (While the design is still featured online, the collection is now unavailable.)

Hoelscher wasn't the only one to find the design offensive. The Journal Times, a Wisconsin-based site, reported a protest planned against a local gas station by Voces de la Frontera, an immigrant rights group, for carrying stickers featuring the design. But the protest was averted when station-owner Bob Basil pulled the stickers from his store.

"I'm not in the business of offending my customers," said Basil to The Journal Times.

According to Basil, the design was included in a variety pack, and had not been among the designs he'd seen at the tradeshow where he placed the order. Upon word of the design, he immediately returned the stickers to CafePress.

CafePress, based in San Mateo, houses user-generated designs -- a practice that has made it famous for its enormous selection, as well as a few less-than-tasteful collections. But the "hunting" t-shirt was pulled for violating the company guidelines, most specifically the clause prohibiting "marks that signify hate towards another group of people."

CafePress did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post for comment, but a search of the website revealed other controversial designs, featuring phrases like, "Speak English, A**hole" and "Get me a beer, b*tch." Another collection included a fitted women's t-shirt that simply read, "Xenophobia." "Turn heads in this hot, hip, curve-hugging tee," the item's description said.

Xenophobia. Real hip.

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Filed by Robin Wilkey  |