Target apologizes for offensive material

Target came under fire recently, for a fashion decision.

Amongst memorabilia sold in honor of the 2010 World Cup, Target displayed a shirt with the Spanish flag—but used the wrong flag. The flag printed on the shirts was Spain’s former flag, from the times of Francisco Franco’s rule, and was the official flag from 1945 until 1977.

Franco, the Spanish military dictator, is remembered for the repressive regime he headed, leaving behind a legacy of violence and political oppression with his death in 1973.

The Spanish flag from that period is closely associated with the pain the nation suffered at his hands, and so many Target shoppers were outraged to see a T-shirt bearing this flag up for purchase recently.  In response to complaints, Target apologized and pulled the shirts from all stores, offering a full refund for any already purchased.

Why did Target print shirts with the old flag in the first place? Was it simply an oversight?

I must say, I don’t think Target did anything wrong by selling the shirts, and if people take offense to a national flag emblazoned on an item of clothing then they should not buy it, but the store has every right to sell it. Although my sense of freedom of speech is a bit disturbed by this, since Target voluntarily apologized and immediately stopped selling the shirts, I guess there’s no issue. Do you think Target had a moral obligation to do so?