Florida State claims company's sale of 'scalp’em' t-shirts 'offensive' to Seminole tribe

Campus Reform Reporter

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  • T-shirt featuring popular 'scalp 'em' chant appeared for sale after Florida State won national football championship.
  • University official says they will push to have t-shirt removed even if company has not violated copyright law.
  • Company selling t-shirt claims school uses phrase in official merchandise and fight song.
  • Florida State University (FSU) is attempting to block a company that specializes in humorous college merchandise from selling t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase “scalp’em,” claiming that it’s derogatory and offensive.

    Grandex, the parent company of popular comedy websites Total Frat Move and PostGrad Problems, came under fire from FSU after posting a “scalp’em” t-shirt for sale on their Rowdy Gentleman merchandise site following the Seminoles' victory in the national BCS title game.

    The shirt, which is currently selling for $28.00, includes a tomahawk and arrow along the words “scalp’em” written across the center.

    In a report on Indian Country Today, FSU spokeswoman Elizabeth Maryanski said the shirt is "extremely derogatory" and "offensive."

    Maryanski said the school has hired Collegiate Licensing, a third party firm, to investigate a copyright claim. She said the university will push to have the shirt removed whether or not Grandex is in violation of any laws.

    Maryanski did not return a call for comment from Campus Reform in time for publication.

    Indian Country Today also reported that Gary Bitner, a spokesman for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, said the shirts are “terrible” and said the tribe is sure FSU will succeed in efforts to stop their sale.

    In an article posted on Total Frat Move (TFM), author Rob Fox, writing under his pen name Bacon, noted that the “scalp’em” phrase is used in the school’s official fight song, on pieces of official school merchandise, and is frequently used by students on social media.

    Fox told Campus Reform via email that while Grandex has complied with a request to remove the phrase “Florida State University” from the t-shirt’s page, they have not received any notice to stop selling the t-shirt.

    “I guess that, yeah, this reaction was a product of political correctness in a way, because FSU certainly NEVER [emphasis in original] wants to be viewed as insensitive, because once they are, their mascot could be in jeopardy, and they are very protective of their mascot,” he wrote.

    Fox pointed out that the school’s sale of merchandise with the “scalp’em” phrase could be interpreted as hypocritical.

    “Essentially what I've gathered from this whole thing is that, in Florida State's view, it's okay for Florida State to do and say certain things, but not outside parties. Is that fair? Would the Seminoles themselves agree? Possibly, and both could make a compelling case for this, but without any [emphasis in original] sort of explanation it comes off as quite hypocritical. Maybe embarrassingly so,” he added.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @TimPDion