A Southern California clothing firm has removed a T-shirt bearing an upside-down American flag from its shelves after it stirred a Memorial Day backlash.
In a Facebook statement Monday, apparel giant PacSun said it had decided to immediately stop selling the garment "out of respect" for members of the armed forces.
The announcement came after images of the garment were repeatedly posted to the Anaheim company's page on the social networking website, with people calling it "disgusting" and "disrespectful." It also trended on Twitter due to the #BoycottPacSun hashtag.
"Out of respect for those who have put their lives on the line for our country, we have decided to stop selling the licensed flag t-shirt and are removing it from our stores and website immediately," the statement said. "We thank the men and women in uniform for their extraordinary service."
However, reaction to the decision was split, with some saying the company should not have sold the t-shirt in the first place.
"You put this shirt in your window on Memorial day? Shame on you for not having better sense than this," a customer named Amy Hudgins Wisdom wrote. "This is trashy, thoughtless behavior which insults the veterans who have given their all to protect this great country."
"Dear Pac Sun, go f-yourself, As a long time customer… I will more than gladly stop shopping at your anti-American store," Huntington Beach resident Rich Avila said.
"As a young United States Marine. I'm disgusted that it was put up for sale in your stores and website in the first place, " Californian Angel Robles wrote. "You've lost all my respect as a brand and retail store. What were you thinking?"
Casino star James Woods was also angry about the T-shirt, and urged his 227,000 Twitter followers to boycott the store.
"Please, every follower of mine, please #BoycottPacSun. Disgusting trashing of American Flag on Memorial Day," he tweeted.
Others were unhappy the company withdrew the item, complaining the decision violated free speech.
"PacSun has the right to sell whatever it believes will make it money," Eric Gang wrote. "Our Bill of Rights protects this t-shirt as much as it protects my right to disagree. Pulling the shirt protects no one. Not even veterans."
It is widely considered that flags are flown upside down in instances of immediate danger to life or property.