Backlash Against Abercrombie & Fitch's Anti-Plus Size Policies Reaches a Fever Pitch

05/15/2013 at 10:44 AM ET

The Situation AbercrombieSplash News Online

Back in 2011, when Abercrombie & Fitch offered to pay Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino to stop wearing their clothes so he wouldn’t tarnish the brand, it seemed like a funny, publicity-seeking joke. But as it turns out, it was actually a bigger part of the company’s retail strategy.

A recent book, The New Rules of Retail, draws attention to the company’s discriminatory clothing policies (specifically that they won’t carry sizes above a 10 or L) — which are in line with prejudiced hiring policies for which the company has come under fire before.

And in a 2006 Salon article, CEO Mike Jeffries defended the company. “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he said in the interview. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids … A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

Since that interview has picked up traction, Abercrombie & Fitch has been taking a beating in the press, facing customer boycotts — even in Hollywood. Kirstie Alley took on the store, telling Entertainment Tonight, “I’ve got two kids in that [age] bracket that will never walk in those doors because of his views on people.” A popular YouTube post shows a man giving out Abercrombie’s clothes to homeless people in an effort to “rebrand” the logo.

Abercrombie & Fitch hasn’t commented on the controversy, but there’s no shortage of people willing to discuss the situation and whether it leads to bullying. Tell us: What do you think of the store’s policies? What about the boycotts?

–Alex Apatoff

FILED UNDER: Fashion , Shopping
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Showing 548 comments

April Briggs on

To: Jennifer
As for your comment:
I like the fact that Abercrombie is taking a stand to promote people with healthy lifestyles

Nowhere did he say anything about healthy lifestyles.
There is a difference & you my dear need to learn it

A on

Jennifer – Abercrombie is not taking a stand to promote healthy lifestyles. The First Lady is taking a stand to promote healthy lifestyles. Learn the difference.

StrawberryGirl on

What else would you expect from a company that once put naked people in its catalogues and pimped thongs to eight-year-old girls? I don’t know who wears A&F these days besides people who want to let the world know they’re d-bags.

Suzanne on

I have never shopped at this retail establishment and never will due to noticing the size issue in the past. They make clothes that I think promotes an unhealthy body image.

Julie on

Is the CEO of this company a 12 year old boy?? He sounds ridiculous. Talk about shaming people for being “bigger” than this company think they should be. How sad and pathetic

Kat on

AF is making the ASSumption that the majority of “beautiful people” are shallow. When, in fact, I know many beautiful people who also have hearts of gold and would never support a company that degrades people with disabilities.

karenlsw on

They lose… my grandaughters are 6 ft tall, perfectly proportioned, and cannot wear abercrombie. Where do girls of this size go. They are too thin for lane bryant.

Adra Maxwell-Flowers on

Not only will my money not buy ANYTHING for my (own) fat ass, but my children, who all range from 10-21, will never be bought another single item from this store!!!

Heather K. on

Personally he and his company should come under fire. Both under the laws of which companies are NOT to discriminate as well as this is borderline bullying by a GROWN MAN!! Who I am sorry has NO right to judge ANYONE on size or looks, as I am sorry but he does not look like a 10 or L to me ~ look in the mirror sir before you judge others. YES we have stores for taller, larger men and women ~ but many of those stores accommodate all sizes and DO NOT discriminate ~they accommodate ~ and to those saying “O’ but Lane Bryant I wouldn’t ask for x size” no you wouldn’t but you also wouldn’t expect to walk into an average store like Gap or Black and White and say do you carry an XL ~ there are those of us in the world that are a size 12 or 14 that are not “fat” or “obese” we are OUR NORMAL REGULAR SIZE ~ that happen to not STARVE ourselves to get into that size 1 ~ personally A & F stands for A – – – – – – and F – – – ~ never liked the store to begin with as I think they’re over priced for jeans and T-shirts

Caroline on

I think anyone who is of a certain age has realized that there is no such thing as cool. Those considered cool are only posers feigning their laissez faire attitudes.

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