You Should
Be Ashamed!

 

This full-page ad appeared in the December 8, 2003 issue of USA Today, placed by the Citizens for Community Values (www.victimsofpornography.org ) directed To the Abercrombie & Fitch Board and Management (and customer's of A&F and readers of USA Today.)

_____________________________________________________________

Imagine for a moment that we were to begin a campaign telling teenage kids

HOW TO STEAL
CLOTHES AT
ABERCROMBIE!

(Why, you'd be indignant. You'd be righteously outraged. You'd cry that it was wrong, and immoral, and gave kids the wrong impression about respecting others. And you'd be absolutely right. But we'd just laugh and say, "Oh, it's just harmless fun, youthful and spirited." And we wouldn't care what you thought, and would continue telling kids to "go ahead, steal 'em blind, and bust up the displays while you're at it!")

Is this beginning to sound familiar? If so, it's because it's the same course you've taken to push sex at today's youth. Of course, we'd never recommend someone steal from A&F or anyone else. That's because we believe our corporate words and actions should build a healthy community and not do anything to exploit youth or to subvert common standards of conduct. And we're not alone. The vast majority of responsible citizens in any community feel the same way.

But that's what separates us from you and your company. We've seen Abercrombie & Fitch work actively over the last six years to kick down long-held community standards of decency. With no compunction, no twinge of misgiving, you have just laughed and said, "our brand is just youthful and spirited." You've even had the audacity to label your use of pornographic sexual imagery as "responsible" while you promoted a carefully calculated plan to push an irresponsible sexual "lifestyle" with every T-shirt, hoodie, and sweater you sold.

Your intent is very clear. Your marketing strategy is transparent. As a Board of Directors we hold you individually and corporately responsible for specifically targeting a youthful market, then willfully stripping away their innocence in your pursuit of profit.

Michael Jeffries, as evidenced by your actions as CEO, you've endorsed the progressively explicit use of pornographic images to attract teenagers to buy your products. In the process, you've made a great deal of money for yourself and for your shareholders. Yet just because a corporation makes money targeting youth with sex to sell its products doesn't make it right. It's clear you have valued profit over principle when you should have valued both.

Russell Gertmenian, you've permitted A&F to publish sex tips from a 19-year old female porn film performer, to print an interview with a male porn actor that used explicit detail to describe men's genitals, sexual arousal, and actual sex acts, and to present promiscuous sex as a recreational sport despite the fact that the U.S. leads the industrialized world in sexually transmitted diseases.

John Golden, you've allowed the marketing by A&F of "thong" underwear to 5th grade pre-teen girls, underwear imprinted with lurid adult expressions like "Eye Candy", and "Wink Wink." On your watch, A&F has also encouraged, "for the kinky-minded," having sex between youth and the elderly.

Archie Griffin, of all people, you've been complicit in the display of nude photos in A&F stores and promotional material, and the depiction by A&F of sexual activity that includes group sex and student/'teacher sex, as well as the direct encouragement of group masturbation when group sex wasn't possible.

Seth Johnson, where were you when decision was made to market alcohol to youth? When "creative drinking": recipes like "Brain Hemorrhage:," "Orgasm," and "Dirty Girl Scout Cookie" were approved for publication in your A&F quarterly? Where were you when these promotional materials were printed and distributed?

John Kessler, you've stood by wile your "Made in USA" labels were sown into A&F garments 6,000 miles away from the USA in the Mariana Islands, where the absence of US labor laws helped the Saipan sweatshops skirt fair wage and work practices.

And Sam Shahid, the credit for the pornographic and homoerotic image campaigns goes to your creative eye. You must know how intensely visual young boys are, and you've helped feed millions of them their first taste of sexual addiction. Your hands not only helped shape this marketing and brand message, they have kept pushing the envelope open further.

As the Board of Directors of Abercrombie & Fitch:
You should be ashamed!

We will continue telling the truth about what you are doing to as many as we can reach for as long as it takes. Understand that we don't want you out of the clothing business, we just want you out of the sex business, especially because you're targeting vulnerable young kids with sex for your shareholder's profit. It's your choice. You can responsibly re-brand Abercrombie to promote quality products, or we'll work hard to re-brand your company as the irresponsible corporate citizen that you are currently. That's our plan. What's yours?

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Every citizen in every community has a stake in this effort. If you're concerned about the column and content of the sexual imagery our children are exposed to daily, please join us today. We'll help you become an effective voice in your own hometown to build a healthier environment for your children

  • Do you want to help. They'll contact you if you give them the contact information.
  • Do you live near an A&F store and want to help spread the world. They'll tell you how.
  • Can you make phone calls and write letters? We'll give you other ideas too.

Visited them online at www.victimsofpornography.org or print out this section and send it with your contact information including Name, Mailing Address, Daytime Phone and eMail address to: CCV A&F Project, PO Box 681, Canal Winchester, OH 43110.

CCV is a non-profit, non-partisan policy free speech organization working to build better and safer communities by encouraging concerned citizens to use their First Amendment Rights. (While you still can - editor)

Source: USA Today, 12/8/03 



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