HoboJacket Good Idea or Sports Exploitation?

I was reading this and thought I would seek the opinion of the few people who actually read this blog.  The short story is that a guy started a website where you could donate clothing representing your most hated school and they would then take the clothing and give it to a homeless person who needs warm clothing.  So, for example, I would donate $10 and a university of texas hoodie to HoboJacket.  They would then provide someone who needed warm clothes with that hoodie.  The catch is that everyone could then see a homeless guy wearing a texas hoodie essentially saying, “Go to texas, end up homeless.”  The man with this idea thought it would be a unique and funny way to get people to help out others in need.  But, apparently he managed to really anger a lot of social activists who view his efforts as exploiting the less-well-0ff in society.  So, after a public backlash, this is what appears on the website now:


An Apology

I thought I had a clever idea for leveraging existing college rivalries to raise money to provide warm clothing for the homeless.
But I did not actually understand that my gimmick was dependent on objectifying the homeless.
The site’s so-called edgy manner was designed to spread quickly, but I realize now that it also allowed my insensitivity to go viral.

I wish I could rewind time to Sunday and reverse the decision to take the site live.
But time is irreversible and I’ve learned a hard lesson.
I’m sorry that I offended so many, and I’m disappointed in my own lack of judgment.
I’ve matured a lot over the last 3 days in listening to the flood of more mature voices out there.
I especially apologize for using those who can’t as easily speak up for themselves.


So, Atop Greene’s Hill readers, what do you think? Creative and good idea for helping the homeless get needed warm clothes, or simple exploitation of the needy in order to have a few laughs at your hated rival’s expense?

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3 Responses to HoboJacket Good Idea or Sports Exploitation?

  1. Dale says:

    I dunno if I’d call it “exploitation,” but it is kind of a jerk move. My sense is that the original motivation wasn’t benevolence.

  2. Ben says:

    Yep, I’m definitely riding the ethical dilemma line on this one, but the fact that the idea most certainly cannot avoid labeling a disadvantaged socioeconomic group should have been motivation enough not to go forward. It does however remind me of what happens to the printed team memorabilia that states fiction. To give an example, take the 2011 World Champion Texas Rangers shirts and hats. Of course they were printed ahead of the possibility that the Rangers won the World Series so that people can get their hands on the gear right after the game. The companies don’t however destroy them despite the fact that they’re not worth what they could’ve been if they were true. They instead donate them to poorer countries. We don’t look at this as an “in your face” to the team that lost, do we? I know it certainly isn’t viewed as mocking the people that receive them.

  3. I think I’m on board with you guys. I seriously doubt this guy really had pure intentions to begin with. Also, Ben, good point about the shirts and hats for teams who lose championship games. I knew they did that, but I don’t think it’s the same thing here. I think it’s the motivation behind the “donation” that’s the difference. In one example the motivation is to “mock” a particular team/school. In the other example, it’s simply to dump unsellable product. Why not let some people benefit rather than just trashing the shirts and hats?

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