According to American Apparel, the social media editor, who was born after the 1986 Challenger space shuttle explosion in which all crew members were killed, mistakenly reposted the image.
Here's an image of the deleted post, from Buzzfeed's Adam Davis.
Apparently American Apparel's tumblr uploaded a picture of the Challenger explosion... http://t.co/hAA6UrCrbV pic.twitter.com/tATqGjevxg
— Adam Davis (@amdhit) July 3, 2014
The original image came from the Tumblr page of a designer based in the UK, who was surprised that American Apparel reblogged his image.
"[T]hey don’t even know what it is," designer Danny Norris commented on his Tumblr page.
Norris told TPM that he made multiple edits of the explosion to "highlight" the disaster. He said that the caption for the image was deleted, which likely contributed to American Apparel's mistake.
"I must admit because of the way I edited the image it is hard to tell it is that explosion without the caption," he said in an email. "I wouldn't really blame American [A]pparel that much, it was an easy mistake which although insensitive was innocent I believe."