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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

Top Content On CBSPhilly

  • hiccup

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

    • Irish Gal

      Ha! Comment WIN. :)

  • karen

    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

  • Rob

    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.

  • Colleen

    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.

    • Irish Gal

      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.

    • Sister Martha

      Perfect! Agree with you Colleen!

    • Guess Who

      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.

      • anonymouse1473

        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.

    • Tim

      Great post!

    • Tish

      LOVE THIS!

  • smm

    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.

    • Rich Ferguson

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

  • Anonymous

    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?

  • Louie Leprechan

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


  • Louie Leprechan

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


    • Tim

      Get a life.

  • junior

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

  • Moser Poser

    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.

  • Leosden40

    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!!

    • 75%Irish

      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!

      • Your point?

        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?

    • Thomas

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

      • ?

        Why? Why would that be OK, Thomas?

        *scratching my head*

  • Clare Peterson

    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.

  • CAPS

    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 !

    • HillClimber

      Hey!!! Start using Spell Check!!!

  • Al Brown

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

  • John T

    Instant politician….add idiot

  • f b

    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?

  • not normal

    It’s amazing what she hones in on.

  • Continuity

    Honestly is that all she has to worry about?

  • NS

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

  • Harry Clark

    Thank goodness the polish people don’t drink.

  • sheryl

    What happened to a sense of humor get over it Joan

  • Samuel A. Maffei

    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!

  • Billy DiSillie

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

  • tjinphilly

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

    • Readthestory

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

  • Frank

    Insert coal, get a diamond from Joan.

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