You’d think that someone who sells tshirts with slogans like “It’s not gay if you beat them up afterwards” and “Arrest Black Babies Before They Become Criminals” would not only be prepared for a tidal wave of hate email, but would be able to handle it as well. Some people just won’t find these shirts funny, or understand the social messaging behind it.
But that doesn’t appear to be the case. After 8 years, the owner of T-Shirt Hell, Sunshine Megatron (formerly Aaron Landau Schwarz according to Wikipedia), says he is shutting down the site on February 10, 2009:
I’m done. I’m finished. I can’t take the stupidity anymore, so I’m leaving and I’m taking my website with me. As of Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009, T-Shirt Hell will be no more.
No, I’m not selling out to some douchebag corporate entity. No, we’re not being sued by any of the over 40 companies that have sent us cease and desists over the years. No, I’m not going to jail (yet) and no, it’s not because of the economy. Although, the recent dip in sales certainly does make the idea easier to accept, even though we still sell over 3000 shirts a week.
I started this company in June of 2001, nearly 8 years ago, with the intention of producing the best satirical, the most controversial, the funniest t-shirts on the internet. Generally speaking, I feel I’ve accomplished that and am satisfied with what we’ve put out. I made a shitload of dough along the way. I’ve done cocaine off the better body parts of supermodels. I’ve even raped and killed a mountain panda in the hills of Shaanxi. But these perks are besides the point.
I just don’t feel like dealing with idiots anymore. I’ll give you an example of the kind of misguided morons we deal with on a regular basis at T-Shirt Hell. We released a new shirt a couple weeks ago that says “It’s not gay if you beat them up afterwards”. I will not explain the irony or the social commentary of the slogan because anyone with half a brain should be able to handle that on their own. Problem is, we’ve been besieged with emails from angry people complaining about the “fact” that the shirt is hate speech or that we’re promoting gay bashing and should take it down immediately.
Now, I can’t say I’m surprised we’re getting hate mail from people who have nothing better to do than to start half-assed campaigns because of their lazy, just enough passion for an email, ideals towards a misguided cause. It happened when we did our first really controversial shirt, “The School Shootings Tour”, it happened when we did our “What About All The Good Things Hitler Did” shirt, it happened when we did our “Arrest Black Babies Before They Become Criminals” shirt (boy did it happen then). It used to happen all the time when we did more social commentary and didn’t give a fuck about what anyone thought and did shirts that did not leave anyone out. Unfortunately, as a concern for the safety of my employees, we don’t push the envelope as much anymore…and I can’t say I feel good about having caved in.
Anyway, rather than cater to the masses, I’m just going to stop making shirts. It’s not enjoyable anymore and I have enough money to move on to something more rewarding. Maybe I’ll start my own hooker farm or maybe I’ll practice sleeping. Whatever I decide to do, it will be better than this.
Attention any venture capitalists or independent investors/business assholes who are about to inquire about purchasing T-Shirt Hell. Don’t. You won’t do the company justice and I won’t take that chance. I’m putting it to sleep. It’s over.
That’s right, I’m crazy. I’m pulling the plug on a company I could have sold for millions. Why in the fucking world would I do something so stupid? Because I can. I don’t care about money. This is the way I’ve always done things…my way.
So, to all the kickass motherfuckers who supported us and REALLY got what we were trying to do, thank you (no, not you, you racist idiots who thought we actually had racist intentions and no, not you, you dumb as a stump fucks who just think any shirt with the word “fuck” on it is as right as rain). Thanks to all the people who contributed to my vice fund and at the same time helped make a funny statement about the world today.
As a final farewell, I’m going to bring back some of the top selling Worse Than Hell shirts as a fuck you to those who forced me to remove them. To those who are offended by them and to those who think I’m racist, promoting rape, a nazi, homophobic or just the world’s biggest asshole…well, at least you think I’m something, which means I’ve achieved what I wanted.
Thanks to Gary, Mika, Jacob, Greg, Bob, the black lady who writes our newsletter, and to everyone else who was part of T-Shirt Hell. Time to move on to even greater things. I’ll miss you (by miss, I mean, it’s going to suck not being able to give you my excellent reach arounds when you least expect them).
All I can say is that I now have a great template to use when we eventually shut down TechCrunch. Thanks for the tip, Steve.