American Apparel apologizes for Challenger disaster photo

Pedestrians walk past an American Apparel sign outside one of their stores in New York in this...

Pedestrians walk past an American Apparel sign outside one of their stores in New York in this April 1, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files

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, Last Updated: 2:31 PM ET

Just in time for the Fourth of July, clothing retailer American Apparel posted a photo of the space shuttle Challenger disaster, which it says an employee mistook for fireworks.

Seven astronauts — all Americans — died Jan. 28, 1986, when the Challenger exploded less than two minutes into its flight.

On Thursday, on the eve of U.S. independence celebrations, American Apparel put a colour-enhanced photo of the Challenger blast on its Tumblr account with the tags "Smoke" and "Clouds."


A screengrab of American Apparel's mistaken Challanger post on Tumblr. (Braiker.tumblr.com)

Some users took screenshots before the company took down the post and later apologized, blaming the gaffe on a young, foreign employee.

"The image was re-blogged by one of our international social media employees who was born after the tragedy and was unaware of the event," the company tweeted.

American Apparel, founded by Montreal native Dov Charney, is no stranger to controversy. Last year it was criticized for selling a T-shirt called "Period Power" that depicted a bleeding vagina.

Last month, the company's board ousted chairman and CEO Charney because of allegations of misconduct.


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