On Tuesday, a search for Trayvon Martin merchandise on Cafe Press—the popular online retailer of personalized products—turned up dozens of pages of results, with sellers offering shirts and hoodies with various messages of support for the slain Florida teen. By Tuesday afternoon, however, a search for "Trayvon" on Cafe Press yielded no results, as did searches on Wednesday and Thursday.
It's not entirely clear. Representatives for the San Mateo, Calif.-based company did not return emails and phone calls from Yahoo News seeking comment.
On Tuesday—the day Trayvon merchandise appeared to be pulled from the store—news that Martin's family had filed applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark "I am Trayvon" and "Justice for Trayvon" was leaked to the press. (The move was criticized by some who said the Martins were trying to capitalize on their son's killing through financial gain.)
Perhaps Cafe Press decided to respect the family's proposed trademarks, though that seems unlikely, given that the family's application covered their use in DVDs and CDs—not T-shirts and hoodies.
Cafe Press could also be guarding itself against a legal or ethical backlash over facilitating the sale of racially charged products. In 2011, the company pulled what it said were offensive T-shirts and stickers emblazoned with fake permits that advocated "immigrant hunting." (Earlier this week, the mug shot of George Zimmerman, Martin's shooter, appeared on a T-shirt under a derogatory phrase. A photo of a Florida rapper, Plies, wearing the shirt was posted on Twitter, sparking outrage among Zimmerman's supporters.)
Or perhaps the company was merely being extra cautious ahead of its IPO. On Thursday, Cafe Press Inc. went public, with its initial public offering priced at $19 a share.
There is at least one item on Cafe Press related to Martin: a $45 hooded sweatshirt supporting the "Million Hoodie March," which his killing inspired.
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