Store owner defends 'wife basher' T-shirt after outcry

A store owner has bowed to public pressure and removed a shirt accused of glorifying domestic violence - but claims it was just a “joke”.

Krazy Tees, a clothing store based in Mandurah, Western Australia, came under fire for a T-shirt which was displayed in the store’s front window on Sunday morning.

The shirt sports a Swan Brewery logo, and the slogan ‘Wife Basher’, which store owner Anthony Hiscox pointed out was an old nick name for Emu Export, a popular beer which is now owned by Lion.

The Mandurah store came under fire for its 'Wife Basher' shirts. Source: Facebook
The Mandurah store came under fire for its 'Wife Basher' shirts. Source: Facebook

“We're certainly not trying to glorify anything - at the end of the day it's a T-shirt, and that's the old nickname for Emu Export,” Mr Hiscox told the Mandurah Mail.

He also said the shirt was “obviously a joke” and said no formal complaints were made to the store.

The Mandurah Mail article was published on Thursday morning and at that time Mr Hiscox said Krazy Tees had no plans to pull the shirt.

When approached for comment by Yahoo News Australia on Friday, Mr Hiscox said the store isn’t stocking the shirt anymore before suddenly hanging up.

The shirt and the store was condemned online, with people taking offence at Mr Hiscox’s comment about the shirt being a joke.

“Male violence against women is “obviously a joke” to Anthony Hiscox of Krazy Tees in Mandurah, despite the ongoing epidemic of men killing women,” Reclaim the Night Perth wrote on Facebook.

“Who on earth thinks this is okay... "clearly it's a joke" he says. Guess what - violence against women is never a joke. Not in any form,” someone wrote on the Krazy Tees Facebook page.

“And thinking that this is okay just perpetuates a veil of acceptance of violence against women in our community. So sad.”

“Am disgusted that Krazy Tees thinks their "Wife Basher" tee-shirt is funny. It really isn't,” another person wrote on their Facebook page.

Krazy Tees in Mandurah is pictured. Source: Krazy Tees/Facebook
The Mandurah store has since pulled the shirt. Source: Krazy Tees/Facebook

“Because domestic violence is a fashion statement – the hot new trend for abusive men!” someone else said sharing a photo of the shirt.

Caitlin Roper told Yahoo News Australia this isn’t the first time she has had an issue with Krazy Tees.

“There was a trend in menswear a number of years ago for printed t-shirts to have soft-porn images of women on them,” Ms Roper said.

“At the time, I was running a campaign against them and calling on retailers not to sell them. Krazy Tees was one of the worst offenders, with sexist, pornographic and very degrading imagery and slogans on them.

“This latest t-shirt is not a one off.”

Ms Roper, now a representative for Reclaim the Night said the ‘Wife Basher’ shirt degrades women and normalises and trivialises violence.

“The common defence is ‘it’s just a joke’. But it’s not a joke, what it really communicates is that women are less than human, that women exist for men’s use and enjoyment, and that our abuse or even the idea of our abuse is humorous and entertaining,” she said.

“These so-called ‘jokes’ that rely on demeaning and humiliating women cannot be separated from a wider culture in which male violence against women is rife, where one woman each week dies at the hands of a current or former partner.”

Lion said they were aware of the issue with the shirt.

“Lion does not condone the messages being conveyed, nor did Lion approve of its brands being used for these purposes,” a spokesperson for Lion said in a statement to Yahoo News Australia.

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