Disney has halted sales of a Mickey Mouse shirt after its comparisons to Joy Division drew web attention.
The shirt, which presented a silhouette of the iconic cartoon character’s head filled with raised black-and-white lines, echoed the cover of the post-punk band’s 1979 album “Unknown Pleasures.” That album’s own cover image, representing readings from the first pulsar discovery, was borrowed from an astronomy encyclopedia.
“Inspired by the iconic sleeve of Joy Division’s ‘Unknown Pleasures’ album, this Waves Mickey Mouse Tee incorporates Mickey’s image within the graphic of the pulse of a star. That’s appropriate given few stars have made bigger waves than Mickey!” this listing, now removed, read.
“As soon as we became aware there could be an issue, we pulled it from our shelves and our online store to review the situation further,” a Disney representative said, according to reports.
The shirt was sold out as of Tuesday evening, after initial reports — which questioned the shirt’s appropriateness, given the suicide that ended the band’s career — made waves online.
It was for sale at the Disneyland and Disney World theme parks as well as Disney’s online store.
But former Joy Division bassist Peter Hook weighed in before the pull, making light of the situation.
“I take it as a compliment,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “If I had a pound for every time someone bootlegged Joy Division, I’d be as rich as Disney. But it’s interesting in a kitsch way. It’s this cross between something very adult and this well-known image of childhood.”
To his knowledge, Disney hadn’t consulted with the band’s remaining members on the shirt, Hook added.