Madison Student Explains Controversial Clothing Line

September 26, 2017

University of Wisconsin, Madison, student Eneale Pickett released a video over the weekend explaining his controversial anti-police brutality clothing line, which has drawn the ire of conservatives. In one instance, after the collection was previewed last week with a commercial that depicted a decapitated pig’s head wearing a police officer’s hat, a state senator called for the university to hold Pickett and others “accountable,” and for law enforcement to investigate. The commercial also included a black man being lynched by an American flag.

“The reason why I created the line as a whole is because we need to address police brutality,” Pickett, a junior, said of his latest clothing line. The apparel company he runs has gotten into hot water before for its social justice and anti-police brutality messages. Phrases on apparel this year include “Fuck the police, they the biggest gang in AmeriKKKa,” and a hoodie made last year included the phrase “All white people are racist.”

“The fact that black and brown bodies get brutalized by the police each and every day, and we refuse to talk about it -- and I wanted to talk about it with this line,” he said in the video. “That pig’s head represents a larger system. Cops are part of a larger system … I’m not telling people, ‘Go kill cops,’ I’m saying the very system they represent, let’s hang that system. Cut the head off that system.”

“I need you to look deeper,” Pickett told viewers.

The University of Wisconsin said Pickett’s actions are protected by the First Amendment, and said they weren’t affiliated with his role as a student.

“UW Madison strives to provide a welcoming and inclusive campus environment, while allowing everyone to share ideas and political views in exercise of their free speech rights,” a spokesman, John Lucas, said in a statement when the clothing line came out. “However, the university strongly condemns the glorification of violence such as that contained in the promotion of a student-produced clothing line.”

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