The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s anti-bullying campaign received an unexpected boost from apparel company American Apparel this week.
According to a Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel report, the company did so after a female UW-Whitewater student who was wearing such a pro-gay T-shirt was punched in the face by an assailant who also shouted a homophobic slur at her. This incident augmented the urgency of the school’s anti-bullying rally held last week after the recent large number of anti-gay bullying-driven suicides by gay teenagers. Between 50 and 100 people gathered Friday afternoon to raise awareness of hate crimes.
The victim was a UW-Whitewater student. Campus police say she was walking down a street late last month when she was approached by two men she didn’t know. She says one called her a homophobic slur and punched her, bruising her face.
Police released profiles of the two suspects shortly after the alleged attack. A police lieutenant said Friday that no arrests have been made. University spokeswoman Mary Beth Mackin says the attack “shocked” the campus. She says that’s not what UW-Whitewater is about.
American Apparel also ran a full-page advertisement in the UW-Whitewater campus paper, remarking that its employees have also encountered harassment over the shirts.
The ad said, “”We were deeply moved and inspired to hear how quickly a student rally was organized and how strong the response to this hate crime was. American Apparel is a company that believes in freedom of expression and equal rights.”