Jewish Groups Call Out Online Retailers for Selling ‘Holocough’ Shirts

Jewish groups have called out two online retailers for selling “Holocough” t-shirts.
December 1, 2020
Photo by Petri Rahikkala / EyeEm/Getty Images

Jewish groups have called out two online retailers for selling “Holocough” t-shirts on their platform.

The Stop Antisemitism.org watchdog first brought attention to the shirts in a December 1 tweet stating that “disturbing #antisemitic clothing” were on the platforms RedBubble and Teespring.

“The attire references ‘Holocough’, a white supremacist meme that was circulated in May – ‘If you have the bug, give a hug. Spread the flu to every Jew. Holocough,’” the tweet read.

The tweet linked to a Daily Beast article from September explaining that the term “Holocough” was first documented in a meme on the encrypted messaging app Telegram in March and has since spread to “neo-Nazi groups already urging followers to cough on synagogues, and to lick items in Kosher aisles.”

Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) Rabbi Abraham Cooper told the Journal that the “Holocough” message was “created and promoted by White Supremacists” and that the “SWC will try to get this hate product removed.”

Teesprings replied to Stop Antisemitism.org with a tweet stating that they “have removed the content. We apologize for any distress this may have caused.”


Redbubble did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment. Earlier in the day, Holocough shirts appeared on the retailer site but as of publication, they no longer do.

“We are deeply disturbed that apparel emblazoned with the antisemitic meme ‘I survived the Holocough’ was available for purchase at Redbubble and Teespring,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement to the Journal. “We are glad the products have been removed from both websites, but it is incumbent upon vendors that allow users to submit and sell their own designs to apply their stated policies and ensure such antisemitic and disgusting products aren’t listed in the first place.”

StandWithUS CEO and co-founder Roz Rothstein also said in a statement to the Journal, “Appalling and shameful that any company would make jokes about systematic torture and murder of millions of people because they were Jews. Those of us who grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust find this deeply offensive and painful.  Far too often we see online stores being used to promote antisemitism. No one should be making a profit from the spread of hate, so it’s crucial that such websites do more to monitor what is being sold in their name.”

Redbubble is an Australian-based retailer that previously came under fire in August for selling shirts on their website stating “Make Israel Palestine Again.”

UPDATE: Redbubble confirmed in a statement to the Journal that they have removed the “Holocough” shirts from their platform.
“The works cited violate our Community Guidelines found here, and have been removed,” the online retailer said. “Redbubble continues to be committed to keeping racist and violent content off the marketplace, and we appreciate you bringing it to our attention.”
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