Harley-Davidson has "tweaked" a long-time policy which bans its dealers from selling t-shirts bearing the Confederate battle flag symbol.
HD released this statement. “It’s been our longstanding approach that the Confederate flag may not be used by the company, its licensees or its dealers in connection with the Harley-Davidson trademark or logo, on any products, signs or other materials,” a statement from H-D said. “We have, over time, made a very few, short-term exceptions in which the Confederate flag appeared in a design with the Harley-Davidson brand. These exceptions were primarily in the historical context, understanding that for some of our customers and dealers, the Confederate flag represents a very rich and proud heritage. These designs were reviewed on a case- by-case basis (for example, there was a small group of designs approved to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and were primarily available at dealerships near battleground sites).
This recent action has some dealers upset. Russell Abernathy, owner of Abernathy’s Harley-Davidson in Union City, Tenn. made this post on Facebook which quickly went viral, “As of today, we have been informed Harley-Davidson will no longer let any Harley Davidson Dealership sell any T-shirts with the Confederate Battle Flag on the back. This is truly a sad day in the History of the United States. Pray for the future of this country, as it needs help now. God Bless America!!!!!!!!!!"
In 1977, Harley-Davidson released a Confederate Special Edition model with the flag painted on the gas tank.
The statement continued, “In light of recent events and the evolving cultural discussion surrounding what the Confederate flag represents, we, like many other companies, have taken a very close look at how our brand has been used in conjunction with the Confederate flag…and will no longer consider limited exceptions to this approach. We believe this is consistent with Harley-Davidson’s role in welcoming people from all walks of life into our family of riders and fostering the common bond our brand represents in uniting riders of diverse backgrounds and experiences.”