Fresh off his triumphant role in bringing the Atlantic Yards project (a.k.a. The Great Basketball Swindle) to Brooklyn via skeevy biz practices, eminent-domain-abuser and ticket-fixing rapper Jay-Z briefly had a new controversial project: Making a buck by selling t-shirts intended to support the Occupy movement and keeping all that filthy corporate lucre for himself.
Via Mediaite comes this story:
Jay-Z's company, Rocawear, is now selling a t-shirt that says "Occupy Wall Street" with graffiti style lettering modifying the message to read "Occupy All Streets." A mini scandal has brewed over the shirt as it's become clear that Rocawear, currently, has no plans to give any of the procedes to the occupiers themselves….
A statement from Rocawear to Business Insider: "The 'Occupy All Streets' T shirt was created in support of the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement. Rocawear strongly encourages all forms of constructive expression, whether it be artistic, political or social. 'Occupy All Streets' is our way of reminding people that there is change to be made everywhere, not just on Wall Street. At this time we have not made an official commitment to monetarily support the movement."
Mediaite's Jon Bershad continues:
One of the Jay-Z defenders in our office pointed out that, by symbolically using his voice through the shirt, the monumentally influential rapper and entrepreneur is doing more to help the cause than nearly anyone can. That may be true. However, why should he profit off his support?
An analogy I used here in the office was of the canned food drive we have for Thanksgiving. If I were to walk in one day and say "Hey, that canned food drive is great!" or, more aptly (and cryptically), "Hey, all food drive!," that would be all well and good. But, if I were to say that while not putting any cans in myself as well as taking some of the cans that come in back to my house, people would think I was being, well, kind of d*ckish.
Apparently, Jay-Z and Rocawear agreed, since they quickly pulled the $22 item from the company's website. Such is the power of the market, that it both injects new products into circulation and yanks them out again with nary a heartbeat in between.
As with many misbegotten t-shirts, they may well end up as Third World giveaways, so keep an eye out for Occupy All Streets t-shirts in random crowd shots of future episdoes of No Reservations or Bizarre Foods.
Reason's Occupy Wall Street video playlist. Click to watch over a dozen videos, including the great Peter Schiff representin' the 1 Percent at Zuccotti Park, an NYPD cop punching a protester, and an anti-Semitic (former) LA school district official yapping about Zionist-controlled banktards: