- 11.18.10 - 2:30PM
- - by
- Cole Stryker
Hot Topic Takes Rage Guy Shirt Off Shelves Due to Masterful 4chan Racism Troll
When I was a teenager, Hot Topic started stocking t-shirts featuring my favorite video game characters. I was sooo mad because earlier that year I had bought a Super Mario shirt at an obscure specialty store downtown and now all these tweens were copping my steez.
I know what it feels like to have your personal brand dilluted by mainstream exposure. It feels bad. So I empathize with these enterprising 4chan users who successfully subverted Hot Topic's cooption of their memes by turning the popular FFFUUUUU Ragetoon into a symbol of racism so the retailer would have no choice but to take it off the shelves.
When they found out that Hot Topic would be selling a shirt based on the ragetoon, 4chan trolls from the site's /b/ image board got to work turning "Rageguy," the most popular iteration of the meme (the one with that inimitable cry of "FFFUUUU"), into a racist cartoon. Of course I'm not going to post any here (Black people eating at KFC is a popular theme), but this is the original rallying cry:
It didn't take long for Hot Topic to relent. They said on their Facebook page:
Rage Guy is the character Hot Topic sells, see the original post from 1 year ago. The character focuses on interesting situations, check out the image gallery. Race Guy is the newest iteration posted this afternoon, today (the character everyone is talking about). Who created Race Guy? We don't know. Who created Rage Guy? We don't know. We sold the shirt because it is pop culture and the series was funny. Why not let our customers express they're interest in meme's? So now what? Well, Hot Topic is the last company to support racism. Hell, we support diversity and wear it proudly. Now that the character represents racism because of these unknown creators - we will no longer be selling it. After tonight (11/17), it will be removed from our website. Next week, it will be removed from our stores.Successful trolls are successful.
But we want to know if you think it's gross that people are posting racist cartoons just to scare off a clothing chain. It's easy to say it's all in fun because it's only satire, but it's very possible that there are minorities out there who find even "pretend" racism to be more offensive than the mainstream exploitation of a meme.
Did /b/ just throw black users under the back of the bus? Let us know in the comments.
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