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Utah mom buys all of store's 'indecent' t-shirts

Utah Mom Buys Store Out Of 'Offensive' Shirts

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A mother upset about "indecent" T-shirts on display at a Utah mall found a quick if not especially convenient way to remove them: She bought every last one.

Judy Cox and her 18-year-old son were shopping Saturday at the University Mall in Orem, about 40 miles south of Salt Lake City, when she saw the shirts in the window of a PacSun store.

The shirts featured pictures of scantily dressed models in provocative poses.

Cox said she complained about the window display to a store manager and was told the T-shirts couldn't be taken down without approval from the corporate office. She then bought all 19 T-shirts in stock, for a total of $567. She says she plans to return them later, toward the end of the chain store's 60-day return period.

The shirts cost about $28 each on the website for PacSun, which sells beach clothes for teenagers and young adults.

"These shirts clearly cross a boundary that is continually being pushed on our children in images on the Internet, television and when our families shop in the mall," Cox said in an email to The Associated Press.

The story was first reported by The Daily Herald of Provo.

An employee at the Orem store said Tuesday she wasn't authorized to speak about the issue and referred questions to the company's Orange County, Calif., corporate headquarters. PacSun CEO Gary Schoenfeld said in an emailed statement the company takes pride in the clothes and products it sells, which are inspired by music, art, fashion and action sports.

"While customer feedback is important to us, we remain committed to the selection of brands and apparel available in our stores," Schoenfeld said in the statement.

Orem is a city of about 90,000 in ultraconservative Utah County that uses the motto "Family City USA." Most residents belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which frowns on pornography and encourages its youth to dress and act modestly.

City code prohibits anyone from putting "explicit sexual material" on public display. The city defines that as "any material that appeals to a prurient interest in sex and depicts nudity, actual or simulated sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse."

Cox met with Orem city attorney Greg Stephens on Tuesday to discuss whether the images on the T-shirts violated city code.

Stephens said he told Cox that she first needed to file a complaint with police. Stephens said police would review the issue and decide whether it needed to be passed on to the city attorney, a process that could take weeks.

Cox said she wants her actions to make clear that these types of images are not acceptable for public display.

"I hope my efforts will inspire others to speak up within their communities," Cox said in an email. "You don't have to purchase $600 worth of T-shirts, but you can express your concerns to businesses and corporations who promote the display of pornography to children."

Longtime mall manager Rob Kallas said the display is down now because Cox bought all the shirts. He said the PacSun store manager told him she was embarrassed to put up the display but was following instructions from corporate managers.

Kallas said this is the first time he's received complaints about PacSun. But in the past, others have complained about images in the windows of Victoria's Secret. That's led to Orem city attorneys at least once asking the store to remove an image, he said.

Kallas didn't see the T-shirts in question until getting an email from Cox, but he said he agrees that they were inappropriate. Victoria's Secret has images of women in lingerie, but their clientele is different, he said.

"This is a store that caters to junior high and high school age kids," said Kallas, mall manager for 40 years. "Some of the poses were provocative and were inappropriate for a store catering to young people."

PacSun has 600 stores across the United States, the company's website shows.

Join the discussion

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fazev764 February 18 2014 at 9:18 PM

And by two days later the store probably had more on the shelves!

Flag Reply +6 rate up
loveandevil February 18 2014 at 9:21 PM

Sure she'll buy them all and think she's made a difference, but then they'll put it through their cycle counts of the day, find out they've sold out, and order a bunch more. Then what? If they have a public decency code, she should have followed that instead. It would have cost her a lot less.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
mark_kent3 February 18 2014 at 9:23 PM

Did anyone think about the possibility that the whole thing is a set-up? Now that the store and its stock have been given special public attention, it will be a snap for the store to disappear the re-stock off the shelves to people who'll line up to buy it in a few days. Works every time. We have become a nation of hidden agendas, and this to me appears to be another one.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
necrogal February 18 2014 at 9:29 PM

So... her idea was to buy the shirts and return them... After this they do not have to accept them even so she gave them free advertisements.. Way I see it the store wins in this...

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
gserlin necrogal February 18 2014 at 9:42 PM

The store policy is to accept returns within a certain period of time. I agree with you that the store is a winner here. Everybody is now interested in seeing the shirts.

The City Counsel should eliminate the laws which make these shirts a subject of dispute. Mormons have to learn that not everybody subscribes to their views. Even a minority of one is entitled to exercise his, or her rights.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
tim123014 February 18 2014 at 9:33 PM

And then her son went home to play video games in which people get chainsawed in half.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Steve February 18 2014 at 9:34 PM

All hype, no story. Typical AOL/Huff Post style to publish an article with an obvious visual subject line and zero examples regarding the article's focus. zzzzzzzzzzzz

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
mhdjl Steve February 18 2014 at 9:40 PM

This story is verbatim to the one on MSN. They didn't have a picture of any of the offending shirts there either.

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mingthemercilessone February 18 2014 at 9:35 PM

More money than sense? What's indecent to her is NOT indecent to other people. Too bad for her if she is "offended" by the shirts. Perhaps she is aghast at girls on the beach in bikinis and men on the same beach with Speed-O's. Perhaps she is mortified by the thought of mixed bathing in the same lake/ocean/pool.

Again, too bad for her, and just let her TRY to buy all the "offensive" t-shirts on the market today. She ain't that rich.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Sandi February 18 2014 at 9:35 PM

Victoria Secret does sell to junior high and high school, that is a lot of their clientele.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
mhdjl Sandi February 18 2014 at 9:43 PM

Let's not forget that VS also airbrushes the photos of the models used in their window displays. One time, while out shopping with my daughter, we both laughed about how the model in the picture had almost no thigh. Then we decided it was bad for the teenaged girls that go in there to see that image.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Pamela February 18 2014 at 9:35 PM


See the picture here .. definitely not for kids but, I would not waste my time buying and returning $567 worth of shirts.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
Frodo Pamela February 18 2014 at 9:39 PM

They show no more than most kids walking the halls these days. Have you actually seen what kids wear? I am willing to bet you but your kids clothes others might consider offensive. Let people judge for themselves. This woman made a token gesture, nothing more. I hope she ends up having to eat that $600.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
Pamela Frodo February 18 2014 at 9:50 PM

She did what she had to do ... I would not waste my time. Part of the problem with the world is that people do .. do .. and do without considering the affect it may have on others. No one is perfect and we all live in a fallen world. Never said if she was right or wrong for what she did, not judging her..... just saying I would not have done that. I see in your world it appears some people have the right to speak and others do not. I don't see how wishing someone would lose $600 is a kind thought regardless of the reason.

Flag +1 rate up
mproviderone Pamela February 18 2014 at 10:31 PM


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JOHNNIES ZOO February 18 2014 at 9:36 PM

First T.V. Next the internet, now t-shirts. Some people need to get a life and let me live mine.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
keithj77441 JOHNNIES ZOO February 18 2014 at 9:38 PM

Then don't push it in public-now go close your door.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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