Prospective buyers of Abercrombie & Fitch clothes should boycott the chain until it decides to market its clothing to everyone, no matter what their color, creed or lifestyle.
The retailer’s offer to pay cast members of the popular hit “Jersey Shore” TV series not to wear A&F brand clothing is discriminatory as the series is centered on the lives of Italian-Americans living in New Jersey.
A&F’s public relations gurus said the TV series is “contrary to the aspirational (sic) nature of the brand.” We all know that it’s okay to bash Italian-Americans…because we see it in the media everyday, except that it isn’t okay because bias is bias…even against good-natured, tan young people with vowels at the ends of their names.
Just imagine if the cast members were African- or Asian-American, or if A&F said something like “Your hallal lifestyle is contrary to the aspirational (sic) nature of the brand.”
A&F reportedly offered actor Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino “a substantial payment” not to wear its clothes as doing so “could cause significant damage” to the brand.
“Jersey Shore” host MTV dismissed A&F’s offer as “a clever PR stunt” and it has been noted the retailer in the past has sold T-shirts reading “G.T.L.”, said to refer to “Jersey Shore’s” pre-party routine of “gym, tan, laundry.”
The “Jersey Shore” flap is not the first involving A&F’s publicity practices. In 2003 it was accused by Citizens Against Pornography, a St. Louis, Mo., group, of selling “soft porn” catalogues in its stores marked “for adults only.” “They (the models) have no clothes at all—their genitals are covered but they are nude,” one of the complainants said. “We don’t feel retail stores should use that form of advertising.”
Andrea Defusco-Sullivan is a professor of writing at the new American College of History and Legal Studies in Salem, New Hampshire, the first college in the United States devoted to history. Visit ACHLS; on Twitter or on Facebook.