Calls for Abercrombie & Fitch Boycott Over Racist Slur

abercrombie and fitchAbercrombie and Fitch Boycott Over Racist Slur

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

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.


  1. beth says

    wow… First off not all the cast members are even Italian-American. Snooki is Chilean and Jwoww is Irish and Spanish mix. Second, the whole show is about 8 people constantly going to clubs, acting like sluts, binge drinking, and insulting women by calling them ‘grenades’ if they aren’t “hot” or if they are bigger than a tooth pick. Other offensive things like calling pale people “gross” and yes this is offensive. Some of the cast is even poorly educated. A quote from snooki “Italy’s like that big country. No, Europe is that big country. They have Britain, England, and Italy.” I wouldn’t want MYSELF associated with them either.

  2. says

    I would have to agree with Marta. Rewarding bad and sometimes violent behavior with making celebrities out of the cast on this show does not serve society in a positive way. What kind of role models are we presenting to our children? Does any parent want their child to grow up to behave in this manner? It begs the question, what is TV teaching our children, not that I subscribe to censorship. However, if people chose to not watch it, sponsors would not buy advertising and the show would not be on the air.

  3. Matt says

    Have to agree with the comments above, this is a really poorly written and thought-out call for a boycott! I mean, seriously? I am really not offended by a&f deciding not to market their clothes based through the truly vapid, lowest-common-denominator Jersey Shore… And if we can’t tell the difference between that and racism we have a problem.

  4. marta says

    I don’t think this is about Italians, OR Italian-Americans. The only offensive stereotypes are the one portrayed by the imbeciles ON Jersey Shore. THEY are the ones who give Italians a bad name with all their attitude and seemingly low IQ.

    You are the very first Italian whom I’ve heard defend that show. The Italians I know and love (including my ex-mother-in-law, a gentle lady who rarely speaks ill of anyone, or anything ) HATE this show, and think it’s offensive to the Italian culture.

    Abercrombie and Fitch clothing is too Ivy League for my taste, but I almost wish I DID like ti so I could support their attitude.

  5. daveB says

    I follow neither the Jersey Shores show nor Abercrombie & Fitch styling choices, but it’s quite apparent from this article’s own reportage that the MTV response appraising the offer as a publicity stunt showed far more understanding of the forces at play than this author could ever muster. I don’t credit A&F with a social conscience or anything, but they are unmistakably trying TO appeal to the Jersey Shore audience.

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