As a divided nation awaits the outcome of the U.S. presidential race, Gap's appeal for post-election unity sowed near-universal scorn on social media, prompting the clothing retailer to delete its image of a red-and-blue hoodie from Twitter.
Posted on Wednesday with tensions over ballot counting running high, the retailer offered an upbeat view, stating that "the one thing we know, is that together, we can move forward," followed by blue and red hearts.
Despite that seemingly innocuous appeal, the post instead unleashed a flood of vitriol and sarcasm, with one person tweeting: "Ugh! protests and law suits??....Have we learned NOTHING from the Gap sweatshirt?!?!"
The retailer reacted by getting rid of the image that had been created for social media while acknowledging its timing was off.
"The intention of our social media post, that featured a red and blue hoodie, was to show the power of unity. It was just too soon for this message. We remain optimistic that our country will come together to drive positive change for all," a spokesperson emailed CBS MoneyWatch.
The hoodie is not an actual product, Gap noted in its response.
The existing political discord in the country could mean it will be a long while before Americans are ready for Gap's "come together" message, according to a new paper in the journal Science, which found political polarization to be especially deep and acrimonious in the U.S.
"Sectarian political divisions have become so entrenched over the past decade that Democrats and Republicans dislike members of the other party more than they like members of their own party," its authors stated.