February 18, 2017 / 11:15 AM / 3 years ago

T-shirt designer hopes to cash in on North Korean assassination

FILE PHOTO: A woman who was detained at Kuala Lumpur airport, identified from CCTV footage at the airport and who was alone when she was apprehended, according to police in a statement, is seen circled in red in this still frame taken from video released February 16, 2017, showing CCTV footage courtesy of Star TV. MANDATORY CREDIT STAR TV Via REUTERS TV/File Photo

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S.-based designer said he hoped to cash in on the assassination of the North Korean leader’s half-brother by selling T-shirts emblazoned with “LOL” in the style worn by his alleged assassin.

The designer said “human rights abuses” by North Korea’s leaders outweighed any arguments against making such T-shirts.

Police believe a woman captured on video wearing a shirt with the letters “LOL” poisoned Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Malaysian police have made a series of arrests.

“I thought she looked very stylish. I’m also always looking out for newsworthy designs - things that are easily made into memes,” the designer, who gave his name as Joel and said he lived in the United States, told Reuters in an online message. He declined to give his full name.

A chief executive of online marketplace Redbubble, where several T-Shirts with the LOL (laugh out loud) label are being offered, did not immediately comment. A representative at the company’s San Francisco office declined to comment.

Redbubble produces and sells merchandise made by independent designers who get part of the proceeds, often about 16 percent. Joel’s LOL shirt was offered at about $35 on Saturday.

The designer said sales were slow so far but that he saw the shirt appealing to feminists, internet “trolls” and anyone who opposed North Korea and other “fascist” regimes.

Writing By Peter Henderson; Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin; Editing by Janet Lawrence and Meredith Mazzilli

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