Urban Outfitters' 'Stereotyped' St. Patrick's Day Products Get No Toasts From Lawmakers

PHOTO: Urban Outfitters has come under fire for their St. Patricks Day t-shirts.
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Urban Outfitters is the object of congressional scorn for a line of Irish-themed clothing and accessories with "severe and negative stereotypes," according to a letter sent to the company from 10 members of Congress.

The legislators are part of the Congressional Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs and the letter is directed at Urban Outfitters CEO Tedford Marlow.

"We recently learned of images used by Urban Outfitters in its St. Patrick's Day clothing line that depict severe and negative stereotypes of Irish and Irish-American people as well as may promote binge drinking," the letter read. "We strongly urge you to end the sale of these items."

A search of the word "Irish" on the clothing brand's website turns up 13 products—shirts, beer glasses, shot glasses, a flask and sunglasses shaped as shamrocks and beer glasses.

One of the women's tank-tops says, "Irish I Were Drunk" with a shamrock and another t-shirt says, "Kiss Me I'm Drunk, Or Irish, Or Whatever." A hat that shows a stick figure on all fours vomiting says, "Irish Yoga."

"By selling and promoting these items, Urban Outfitters is only fueling stereotypes that many Irish-Americans, as well as the people or Ireland, work so hard to dispel," said Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., in a statement.

Crowley spearheaded the letter and got his colleagues on board after hearing that many Irish-Americans were upset by the products.

"We understand that such items may have been created with the intent of good humor. And, as members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs, we know that Irish and Irish-Americans often revel in self-deprecating and blunt humor," the letter read. "However, we believe these items represent a step too far, crossing a line into stereotyping and denigration."

The letter expresses concerns about the items potentially encouraging binge drinking, which they call a "very serious problem affecting many of our nation's young people."

"We strongly urge you to review your St. Patrick's Day clothing line and consider its effects on the 35 million-strong Irish-American community, as well as its implications for binge drinking," the letter said. "We also hope your review results in the withdrawal from distribution and sale of the items in question."

The letter was sent on Feb. 27 and Urban Outfitters has not yet responded to the Congress members.

"We have neither heard from them nor received anything from them," Courtney Gidner, director of communications for Congressman Crowley, told ABCNews.com today.

The clothing company is no stranger to controversy.

In Oct. 2011, Sasha Houston Brown, a 24-year-old Native American woman from Minnesota, wrote a letter to the company about a line of "Navajo" items she claimed were "cheap, vulgar and culturally offensive."

Brown said she was offended by "plastic dreamcatchers wrapped in pleather hung next to an indistinguishable mass of artificial feather jewelry and hyper sexualized clothing featuring an abundance of suede, fringe and inauthentic tribal patterns."

A "Navajo Print Fabric Wrapped Flask" and "Navajo Hipster Panty" drew criticism for the company, which later removed the word "Navajo" from the product titles.

On Feb. 28, the Navajo Nation sued Urban Outfitters for violating its trademark by selling the clothing and accessories.

The Navajo Nation said in its lawsuit that even after Urban Outfitters removed the word "Navajo" from its products on its website, it "continued to sell its products in its retail stores under the 'Navajo' and 'Navaho' names and marks. Moreover, defendant also continued to use the word 'Navajo' on its sales receipts."

Urban Outfitters did not respond to requests for comment from ABCNews.com.

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