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Philadelphia Councilwoman Finds Irish Novelty T-Shirts Offensive

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A City Councilwoman says she’s “seething green” over what she calls “anti-Irish” merchandise being sold by Spencer Gifts for St. Patrick’s Day.

You might not know that Councilwoman Joan Krajewski is part Irish, but she is, and she is definitely not smiling. She says T-shirts being sold by New Jersey-based Spencer Gifts with captions like, “Instant Irishman: just add alcohol” are racist.

joankrajewski Philadelphia Councilwoman Finds Irish Novelty T Shirts Offensive“It’s derogatory and the Irish people, it makes them look like they have no morals, and we’re a bunch of drunks!”

Krajewski wants the shirts off the market but the luck of the Irish is not on her side. Spencer’s General Counsel Kevin Mahoney says the shirts stay.

“As a son of Erin, I certainly respect their opinion, but I have investigated it, and virtually every Irish shop sells the same type of shirts.”

Mahoney says he’s confident most in the Irish community find the shirts humorous–not offensive.

Reported by Margie Smith, KYW Newsradio

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One Comment

  1. Sarah says:

    Uh isn’t Irish luck actually bad luck?

  2. MarkinFL says:

    Since when is Irish a race? Is she just ignorant or has she been drinking too much?

  3. razmataz says:

    I-rish I was drunk!

    1. Justhavetasay says:

      I’m 1/2 Irish.

      Joan Krajewski , put on your big girl panties and get over it.

  4. Justin says:

    Best offense that should be given now a days has a citizen of America. Everyday when you walk outside, do not speak, gesture or make eye contact with anyone — Because more than likely you may offend someone —

    Such a joke, we have become a country where everybody is offended, and ready to tie the court systems, sue, or threaten to have people fired from their jobs. To all the grown man/woman children of America. Shut up already, you look pathetic

  5. Tim says:

    For all of you people that don’t know what your talking about…Saint Patrick’s Day is a RELIGOUS holiday, NOT a Drinking Day!! The Irish ARE stereotyped as drunks, and you people would not wear shirts that made fun of blacks, peurto ricans, or gays. So it is wrong, and it is a double standard. I am Irish and I don’t like these shirts. I actually do things in the Irish community to promote or traditions, language , and heritage, which most of you people that thik it’s a party day know nothing about. We care about our Irish Heritage, so leave it alone and respect us. We are not going away until these shirts are gone.

    1. razmataz says:

      Yeah, well, good luck with that Tim. I am also part Irish, and I think people jsut need to get over themselves and have a laugh. That’s the problem in this country today; people go around just looking for some reason to get offended. Well, if these shirts offend you, this is America, you have the perfect right to be offended. Otherwise, just get over it!

    2. Gepard says:

      How about you also get rid of every shirt or joke that makes fun of anyone who is a gamer or a “nerd” also don’t forget any jokes about women and on and on and on … there would be no humor left. It’s a stereotype and considering many parts of my family I’ve seen it’s sometimes true and it’s STILL funny. Have a little humor about your heritage as EVERYONE should do and be proud you keep doing something to expand knowledge. Do NOT tell me what I’m allowed to find funny though.

  6. capnmike says:

    Whine Whine Whine! Everybody’s a victim. Oh waaaaah, somebody insulted me. What a bunch of thin-skinned nonsense. I’m a “minority” myself….and I hear all about how tight-fisted we are, and what big noses we have, and a load of other stuff…makes me laugh…Everybody belongs to some racial group or other, and there are jokes about EVERYBODY…and most of these groups tell the jokes THEMSELVES when there’s nobody else around. So lighten up, and GET A LIFE!

    1. mighty says:

      They are offensive. If i wore a shirt on LK day that said proud to be black ” i was born on parole” it would be offensive. The only offensive material in our politically correct society is geered toward anyone not white. If its aimed at white people its accepted.

      1. Gepard says:

        You’re right … more people should learn to have a sense of humor about themselves … it used to be a huge deal to make fun of the Irish or any immigrant group but we decided finally it was better to laugh it off than look like idiots fighting it constantly … how bout some other groups take that lead?

  7. Politically Incorrect says:

    Krajewski? How about some polish jokes?

  8. Fred Sanders says:

    Look at her pcture.She looks like a dried up old lemon.Who cares what she likes.

  9. Dave Gittings says:

    Scotch Irish and proud of it. the irish like to drink and so do the scots. why find it offencive just go with it and have a Irish wiskey a smile and shut up

    1. Nessa says:

      I am Scotch Irish to, VERY proud of my heritage and make fun of it as well. I know that if the shirts where about another race. they be taken down, but at this point people need to get a reality check and laugh at one another! There are REAL problems in the world!

  10. chipsdad says:

    trow dem all in da pady wagon !

    1. Vanessa Scalia says:

      ooo I love Spencer’s Gifts. Lady you need to calm down. I’m so sick of how things have to be Politically Correct. It’s boring and whiny. Good for you Spencer’s Gifts for not backing down!

  11. Dave NY USA says:

    REALLY? Get a life, Bimbo!

  12. Jess says:

    Good grief, people are WAY to sensitive these days!!

    1. BigIrishman says:

      I am part Irish and that is a load of blarney. I personally may buy one of those shirts! I remember the old days when using the “N” word was the only thing you had to worry about. Now it seems like everybody is offended by everything! I am offended by that “-) Happy St. Patty’s Day all.

  13. PM says:

    If the T-Shirt fits…….

    1. Mike 3 says:

      what if i made a shirt that said “instant african american: just add crack”? would that be offensive?

    2. john says:

      Or if the shirt said “A African American in it’s natural habitat” Then had a picture of a black man in jail? would that be ok?

  14. Guin Knowlton says:

    Im with Mel Brooks on this we will take the chinese and the blacks but we dont want the irish (Blazing Saddles if your too young to know the reference)

    1. Hairy says:

      Love you, Guin. My favorite movie. Back when you were allowed to make funny films and whiners didn’t get their panties in a bunch.

  15. CuriousGeorge says:

    Hmm. One side of me thinks we should have the right to poke fun at ourselves if we want, but the other side of me wonders how this is any different then if the shirt said “Bomb-O-Meter” or “Tightwad-O-Meter” and in place of Irish it had “Arab” or “British”…

    1. CuriousDoh says:

      Oops, meant “Jewish” instead of “British”. lol

  16. bailey says:


  17. Mike Tammaro says:

    I didn’t know the Irish was a race. I learned something new from this politically correct councilperson.

  18. Ellen R Ingles says:

    OMG- its obvious Joan has too much time on her hands! I think she better give her job to someone who cares about the issues not a t-shirt sold at Spencers!

  19. Marc Leventhal says:

    I am highly offended that this woman is offended. I think, because I am offended, she should be taken off the market. Same logic as he’rs, isn’t it.

  20. Brandy S says:

    I am Irish mostly and I LOVE THAT SHIRT, where can I get one???

  21. getreal says:

    This counsel woman has her job focus out of whack… She is unable to direct her attention to the REAL important issues. Pulling the race card is so last century.

    Her time on her job is wasted if all she does is read t-shirts…

  22. pete says:

    I think Councilwoman Joan Krajewski needs to go down to Paddy’s Pub, say hi to the gang, and have a green beer w/ some friends and just enjoy the day. If you would like to use your political platform for the Irish then work on getting the British off our land!!!!

    1. Bill says:

      céad míle fáilte my friend.
      Ignorant elected officials have better things to do than infringe on free speech.
      I am a son of Erin myself. Freedom to Ireland!

  23. Tom says:

    Take the Money and Run Joanie, Take the Money and Run! CROOK!

  24. Sam Leonard says:

    Councilwoman Joan Krajewski Needs to get a life

  25. George says:

    Thank God I’m Welsh!

    1. Brian says:

      Sheep Shagger…..LOL

  26. Art Avedisian says:

    Where in the Constitution does it say anyone has the right to NOT be affended.

    1. Irish Gal says:

      Exactly. People have a right not to be murdered, harmed, or discriminated against. Speech should be limited ONLY when it actually contributes to those things happening to people. Some hate speech does contribute to that. Busting on the Irish on St. Paddy’s Day does NOT contribute to anyone ACTUALLY being harmed.

  27. Brian says:

    I’m Irish, and I think that’s funny as hell! She need to get a new hobby, NOW!!

  28. NOT-PC says:

    If anyone is offended by that shirt it is becuase they choose to be offended. The truth is that if anyone is offended by anything someone else says or does it is because they made the choice to be offended.

    1. Irish Gal says:

      No one is seriously offended by this. This is some nonsense.

      However, there is actually hate-speech out there. Speech that contributes to people being harmed. This is NOT an example of that.

  29. CivilRights says:

    All the Irish people I know are drinkers and get drunk and Paddywagon is due to the number of immigrant Irish in the early 1900’s being arrested for having consumed too much alcohol and taken away in the vehicles.

  30. Jerry Murtagh says:

    Obviously the Councilwoman is only one-half Irish. If she were fully Irish, the would have a sense of humor.

  31. guest2011 says:

    GIMME A BREAK! I’m Irish and I’m not offended. There are other things that are more “offensive” than this DUMB t-shirt, like the economy, the unemployed, the homeless, the DEAD military personnel who are NOT getting the recognition that they should because the mediia is MORE concerned with the likes of Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, and now this STUPID T-shirt.

  32. William Newsreader says:

    I always felt the same way about those “Im with stupid” t-shirts. Id rather be called “drunk” than “stupid” any day.

  33. NotReallyIrish says:

    A saw a youtube video where a teenage American Wiccan, of the fluffy bunny sort, was talking about old Irish religion and talking about how well it fit with her life since she was Irish. An Irish person responded, “You’re not Irish. You’re American.” Despite my own Irish/Scottish/French roots, I don’t generally go around calling myself Irish, Scottish, or French.

  34. hiccup says:

    cut her some slack, she was drunk when she said it

    1. Irish Gal says:

      Ha! Comment WIN. :)

  35. karen says:

    truth of the matter is that I am offended by the fact that she is offended – time to pull up your ‘big girl’ panties and deal with it

  36. Rob says:

    I always assumed that “Patty Wagon” was becuase the Police dept. was 95% irish back in those days, not because they were riding to jail in the back of them.

    The most prevalent theory is based on the term “Paddy” (a common Irish shortening of Patrick), which was used (sometimes as derogatory slang) to refer to Irish people.[3] Irishmen made up a large percentage of the officers of early police forces in many American cities. Thus, this theory suggests that the concentration of Irish in the police forces led to the term “paddywagon” being used to describe the vehicles driven by police.

  37. Colleen says:

    It’s really getting out of hand though, as an Irish citizen I am sometimes offended and I will speak my mind whenever I have to hear the bigoted term “Patty Wagon”. Thing about most Irish – we aren’t whiner’s….so we let comments like that roll off our backs. But it’s getting extreme…there should be an Irish history month. How many thousands died in the famine? What about Duffy’s Cut? And “Irish need not apply”? on the subject of those t-shirts…It kind of falls under that old Irish saying – “May those who love us, love us; and those who don’t love us, may God turn their hearts; and if He doesn’t turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles so we’ll know them by their limping” or their stupid green t-shirts.

    1. Tish says:

      LOVE THIS!

    2. Tim says:

      Great post!

    3. Guess Who says:

      The “Irish need not apply” signs are a myth. The only one ever seen was in London. Too bad frauds like drunk Teddy and Tippler O’Neil felt the need to spread it. Even Shammity tells the story on his show.

      1. anonymouse1473 says:

        Actually, Guess Who, the signs are NOT a myth. They were placed in storefronts all over Boston, and likely other cities as well. While Teddy and his friends did go off the deep end sometimes, denying that the Irish were discriminated against is completely false, as well as offensive to anyone who was Irish and had to deal with it.

    4. Sister Martha says:

      Perfect! Agree with you Colleen!

    5. Irish Gal says:

      We WERE discriminated against. We are not now. “Discrimination” against Irish-Americans is different from actual discrimination that still harms people today.

      You are absolutely right that people should be educated about the historic discrimination against Irish immigrants in America, but not so that people can feel sorry for Irish-Americans. People should be aware of it so that we can see the parallels between that discrimination and discrimination against other groups which still occurs today.

  38. smm says:

    as if ppl haven’t been saying for hundreds of years that folks of irish descent are heavy drinkers? i’m part irish, it doesn’t offend me. i’m italian and german too. funny, there are just as many jokes about those two nationalities and drinking as there are about irish and drinking. and then she wants the shirts off the market…. i want ppl like her to shut up, i don’t think THAT’S going to happen, so i guess she’ll just have to deal with it.

    1. Rich Ferguson says:

      Right on SSM. This pol should get over herself. Erin go bragh!

  39. Anonymous says:

    Joan, are you serious? The shirt makes Irish people look like they have no morals? Taking $300,000. to retire for a day is morally acceptable? Philadelphia is riddled with crime and you have the audacity to comment on a shirt?

  40. Louie Leprechan says:

    going to get a t-shirt now that I know where to get one


  41. Louie Leprechan says:

    I am going to spencers and get a shirt for everyone in my IRISH Family


    1. Tim says:

      Get a life.

  42. junior says:

    This whack job is in politics and is offended by one shirt? Time to find a new job.

  43. Moser Poser says:

    I’m confused. What’s the difference between “drunk” and “hammered”? And where does “wasted” fit in? I’m offended by these lack of distinctions.

  44. Leosden40 says:

    If she is so offended, why is she in Spencer’s to begin with? If she does not like freedom of speech, she might want to think about moving to Libya!!

    1. Thomas says:

      It would be if a black person said it, of course….

      1. ? says:

        Why? Why would that be OK, Thomas?

        *scratching my head*

    2. 75%Irish says:

      We are what we are–“Fighting Irish”! We don’t need a support group or government agency to get by. I’m proud of my heritage and yes, drinking is part of it. Life is short. Besides, God created whiskey so the Irish couldn’t take over the world! Eirinn go brach!

      1. Your point? says:

        Did you really just proclaim that the Irish don’t need a government agency to get by? As compared with whom?

        And anyway, good for us. Aren’t we lucky? Why gloat about your good fortune?

  45. Clare Peterson says:

    It can always be worse. I once saw someone wearing a T-shirt that said, “I’m Irish–Don’t F— With Me.” Never heard a word said against that one.

  46. CAPS says:

    You didn’t retire yet ? Joan I seem to remember you drinking in bars up on frankford ave back in the day to get votes , or how about selling make up through city hall all while on the clock ! Go spend your stolen DROP $$$ You THEIF !

    1. HillClimber says:

      Hey!!! Start using Spell Check!!!

  47. Al Brown says:

    C’mon Joan. Aren’t there better things to MEOW about? Political correctness be damned!

  48. John T says:

    Instant politician….add idiot

  49. f b says:

    dear joan, like i commented on blackwells prayer in school,, you two old goats should retire, we dont want your opinion, isnt it bad enough your in office? collect your check and shut up, your offended? look at what you have done for the city joan, its a mess, if these are what you both call issues that need to be addressed, i think you both need to be tested ok?

  50. not normal says:

    It’s amazing what she hones in on.

  51. Continuity says:

    Honestly is that all she has to worry about?

  52. NS says:

    Why isn’t Joan worried about real issues, like safety and cleanliness in Philadelphia? Another City Council idiot.

  53. Harry Clark says:

    Thank goodness the polish people don’t drink.

  54. sheryl says:

    What happened to a sense of humor get over it Joan

  55. Samuel A. Maffei says:

    I’m offended by the fact Joan scammed us with the DROP program for almost $300,000 by retiring for 1 day. Shut up shrew!

  56. Billy DiSillie says:

    Everybody is offended for 15 Minutes, enjoy the fame…..We are all Victims Now!

  57. tjinphilly says:

    Wait…Krajewski…isn’t she POLISH? Why is SHE offended?

    1. Readthestory says:

      The first line of the second paragraph says that she is part Irish. Read the story b4 you comment not just the headline.

  58. Frank says:

    Insert coal, get a diamond from Joan.

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