Trade Me pulls 'It's Okay To Be White' T-shirts after public pressure

Trade Me has pulled the controversial ''It's Okay To Be White' stickers and T-shirts after a widespread public backlash.

The seller claimed the items were a way of counter-signalling "anti-white bigots" - but the Human Rights Commission (HRC) disagreed, saying they conveyed a message of "intolerance, racism and division".

At the time, Trade Me told Newshub it would allow the listings to remain on its site as they do not breach its rules.

"Items which marginalise individuals or promote one race at the cost of another cannot be sold onsite," said head of trust and safety George Hiotakis.

"While we know there is some debate about this slogan, we don't think these items cross that line."

An image of the T-shirt.
An image of the T-shirt. Photo credit: vjm_publishing / Trade Me

The phrase started on 4chan as a way of dog-whistling white supremacy and has since been spread around the world by the far-right.

News of the items availability in New Zealand sparked a backlash, with The Project host Kanoa Lloyd saying they were intended to "shock and hurt".

But on Tuesday Trade Me told Newshub the items have since been removed.

"The listings have proven to be pretty divisive and have attracted a bunch of complaints," Hiotakis said.

"New Zealand has told us that they don’t want to see this sort of thing on Trade Me and we agree, so this slogan will not be allowed to be sold on any item on our site."

The seller has now shifted to selling the items on the website where, due to "unprecedented demand", the T-shirts now take three weeks to be delivered.

"Resist the Orwellian thought police with this t-shirt! The Human Rights Commission thinks that we shouldn't be allowed to sell these shirts - help up stand up for free speech by telling them where to stick it!" the listing reads.

"It is in no way racist, hateful or divisive to say that it's okay to be white!"