News | Republican Party

Urban Outfitters Billionaire a Wingnut in Progressive Clothing


The loaded owner of Urban Outfitters, Richard Hayne, doesn't want you to know who he is:

"Shopping in Urban makes you feel like you are somewhere radically Left-wing, an antidote to the corporate blandness of The Gap. But Hayne is a stanch conservative who donates money to Republican politicians, not least Rick Santorum, a now failed Senator whose views on homosexuality are both bizarre and old-fashioned. Hayne doesn't give many interviews precisely because he's afraid that college slackers who get to know him will suddenly realise that buying his clothes is like giving cash to George Bush. Once described as projecting a 'Dick Cheney-esque aura of no-nonsense grayflannel gravitas', Hayne must be the only retailer whose expansion plans depend on no one finding out who he really is. Despite the strife in the sector, Urban just beat Wall Street profit expectations yet again. So far, the illusion is holding up perfectly."

One can only hide for so long.

(thanks robbie)

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  1. I've tried to tell this to people for YEARS. I used to frequent Urban Outfitters a lot when I lived in Seattle in the early 90s until I learned his backstory. It's really quite a diabolical way.

    *rubs hands together*

    Posted by: Rey | May 21, 2008 10:36:02 AM

  2. Hmm. I remember being in Urban Outfitters in New York and seeing a T-shirt (I'm pretty sure it was a man's T-shirt) that said "I like girls who like girls". So evidently someone at Urban Outfitters has no problem with homosexuality so long as it's two girls making out for the benefit of a guy.

    Posted by: Sasha | May 21, 2008 10:37:04 AM

  3. Thank God I'm a nurse and don't have to wear stuff like Urban Outfitters. They have really nice stuff but I would have been really upset right about now if I had a closet full of their clothes.

    Thanks, Andy, for bringing this to our attention.

    Posted by: JerzeeMike | May 21, 2008 10:37:36 AM

  4. He's the reason I haven't set foot in Urban Outfitters in over five years.

    Posted by: MAJeff | May 21, 2008 10:43:58 AM

  5. Well, I will put them right next to Macy's on my list of places I will not shop.

    Posted by: PDX Guy | May 21, 2008 10:44:49 AM

  6. On my search for some cheap sunglasses, I wandered into the UO at 6th and 14th this past weekend and couldn't help but notice their prominently displayed Barack Obama t-shirts (which made me want to vomit a little). I thought it's so sad how this election has been coopted by a cult of personality and mindless platitudes, etc etc etc...So I ended up buying some expensive Prada shades elsewhere. : )

    This article puts that experience in a curious light, to say the least.

    Posted by: DAVID | May 21, 2008 10:46:43 AM

  7. I used to shop at the store in Minneapolis. I had absolutely no idea about this neocon. Sincere thanks for shining a light on this guy.

    Posted by: Tegucigalpa Todd | May 21, 2008 10:47:54 AM

  8. Good stuff Andy, I think that we need to know just who is behind every company in this country and where they stand on issues that affect our community.

    Posted by: Sebastian | May 21, 2008 10:48:38 AM

  9. my partner is a high-up for urban, and he always talks so highly of this man. he's not a jerk by any means, as an insider.....he leaves politics at the door, and he knows that there is a huge gay following of his company. Also, i'd say 50% of the employees of urban are even if he's a bush supporter, he's a good guy.

    Posted by: j.r. | May 21, 2008 10:49:33 AM

  10. It doesn't matter how good a guy he is - if he's funding the right wing agenda with the profits off my purchases, then I'm not cool with that!

    Posted by: DAVID | May 21, 2008 10:52:30 AM

  11. Yup, he's a turd. Also, I remember he's pretty anti-choice (but I can't qualify that one).

    Another galling company to watch out for (-though perhaps more for the mothers of Towleroad readers)... the founder of Curves is notoriously big contributor to Anti-Choice/Pro-Life causes. Especially gross is his claim to 'empower women'.

    Posted by: pickles | May 21, 2008 10:53:19 AM

  12. I don't buy clothes from homely men

    Posted by: sean | May 21, 2008 10:54:01 AM

  13. Oh crap! What's wrong with Macy's?

    Posted by: MikeinSanJose | May 21, 2008 10:58:19 AM

  14. J.R. are freaking KIDDING me!!! You bought this guys act hook, line, and sinker. This "good guy" is helping to fund the very people who will never, EVER let you and "your partner" be fully integrated into American society. He's marginalizing you with one hand while taking your money with the other. Stop and think about what's going on here, you have some decisions to make.

    Posted by: JerzeeMike | May 21, 2008 10:59:47 AM

  15. " even if he's a bush supporter, he's a good guy." Priceless! Thanks for the laugh, J.R.

    Posted by: John in Manhattan | May 21, 2008 11:16:01 AM

  16. I'm not sure he's the only retailer counting on not being outed. There's a bit of weirdness at the top of gay icon A&F, as well.

    Posted by: Patrick | May 21, 2008 11:44:40 AM

  17. his wikipedia entry says that he "donated heavily to the rick santorum campaign."

    'nuff said.

    Posted by: alguien | May 21, 2008 11:46:18 AM

  18. J.R.--- you are an IDIOT. If this guy is handing money to George W Bush and Rick Santorum, then it doesn't matter that he 'leaves politics at the door and knows there is a huge gay following of his company'...clearly, the man supports hatemongers who make political gain by demonizing the GLBT community...he isn't hiring GLBT people because he likes them or wants to help them...he's hiring GLBT people because they can help him become richer...the best thing your boyfriend could do is put his resume out there and get a new job because as long as he is continuing to work for Richard Hayne,your boyfriend is also contributing to the oppression of GLBT people.

    Posted by: peterparker | May 21, 2008 11:54:08 AM

  19. Sorry, but actively donating money to Santorum and GW ends it for me. Besides, I have better uses for $40 instead of un-ironic T-shirts.

    Posted by: JTluvr | May 21, 2008 12:09:26 PM

  20. I know part of this is generational: I used to wander into UO in Ann Arbor and marvel at how 99% of the stuff was nothing I'd look good in--even if I found the right size--because there are SOME things 60 year old guys shd avoid on esthetic grounds. Unless, of coure, they've managed by genetic luck and hard work to look 23...But what really put me off was how the entire store reminded me of some ads I used to see in "alternative" and "underground" papers in the Sixties that offered an Instant Hippy Look for a low price--love beads, headbands, a tie-died tee and a vial of patchouli oil. It's no surprise that images supposedly cool are exploited by right wing (and leftie) entrepreneurs, and that so many people ar ready to shell out $$$ for the vicarious engagement.

    Posted by: Gregory Brown | May 21, 2008 12:12:39 PM

  21. Thanks for the info. Will add Urban Outfitters to my list of unacceptable brands. That includes A&F - for those of you who consider racial and ethnic discrimination odious, A&F has a history of "whites only" policy:

    Just do a online search and you'll find many more articles on A&F and racism.

    Posted by: end2dscrmnshn | May 21, 2008 12:13:36 PM

  22. PDX GUY...I don't know your reason(s) for boycotting Macy's (owned by Federated Department Stores), but the company has long had a policy of supporting the GLBT community...every year they host Macy's Passport Fashion Shows in cities around the country to raise money for people living with HIV/AIDS...they have long given domestic partner benefits to their GLBT employees ( know that Andy reported, about a year ago, on an incident in which a Macy's store in Boston altered a window display about that cities Pride Parade after there were complaints...apparently, the decision to alter the window display was made not by Macy's corporate, but by the store manager...given the fact that this appears to have been a random occurrence made by an unenlightened employee and the fact that Macy's has otherwise supportive of our community, I think we need to give Macy's a pass on what was otherwise a very disturbing incident...if there is some other reason to boycott Macy's/Federated Department Stores that I am unaware of, please, don't hesitate to let us all know.

    Posted by: peterparker | May 21, 2008 12:20:32 PM

  23. Who buys stuff at UO anyway? It's too downmarket and the stuff is cheap and ugly.
    They try much too hard to be cool, so they clearly aren't.

    Me and my friends much prefer more expensive (and exclusive) stuff.
    And A&F can go to hell, they are clearly wannabees.

    Who shops at Macys? When I think of a department store, Bergdorf's, Saks, or Bendel's are the only ones that come to mind (although Harvey Nichols is quite nice).

    Posted by: Chad | May 21, 2008 12:38:36 PM

  24. Nothing gets between me and my Calvins??

    It's usually not best to ask how the sausage is being made. Pretty soon you're living like a hermit in a cave. Being gay does not equal Jainism.

    Posted by: anon | May 21, 2008 1:02:04 PM

  25. Thank you for posting this. Four years ago "Rock the Vote" activists complained that Urban Outfitters was selling a t-shirt that read "Voting is for Old People." I can now understand why the store's owner would want to promote such a message.
    I don't care how many gay customers and workers a business makes money off of. If it or its owners support the right-wing, they are not getting my money or labor if I can help it.

    Posted by: Michael | May 21, 2008 1:03:00 PM

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