Abercrombie's 'Exclusionary' CEO Responds to (But Doesn't Apologize For) the Controversy

05/17/2013 at 01:08 PM ET

Abercrombie CEO backlash
Landov; Inset: Getty

Until now, Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries has remained silent about the recent uproar surrounding his company‘s policies to exclude sizes larger than a 10 or L, as well his quotes from a 2006 article, in which he said (in part), “A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

But after about a week of customer boycotts and negative internet buzz, Jeffries has finally posted a statement on the company’s Facebook page — though he stops short of an apology.

“While I believe this 7 year old, resurrected quote has been taken out of context, I sincerely regret that my choice of words was interpreted in a manner that has caused offense,” he writes, but adds that he stands by their original size policies. “A&F is an aspirational brand that, like most specialty apparel brands, targets its marketing at a particular segment of customers.”

PHOTOS: See the shoes, bags and jeans stars are loving right now!

Jeffries also says that that Abercrombie is “strongly committed to diversity and inclusion. We hire good people who share these values. We are completely opposed to any discrimination [or] bullying.”

A Change.org petition calling for the company to change its policy remains up, and the creator, 18-year-old Benjamin O’Keefe, says he is determined to keep the pressure on Jeffries to be more inclusionary.

Tell us: Do you think Jeffries’s statement is enough, or should the company have to do more?

–Alex Apatoff

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Showing 253 comments

What? on

If he’s the one making this statement, just looking at him tells me he wouldn’t get a job in his store. He’s not attractive at all, has he looked in the mirror lately?

Cooler clothes out there on

So wouldn’t that mean that stores marketed for plus sized would now need to make close for size zero and petites? Abercrombie really isn’t that cool. If they want only certain people to wear their clothes, so be it. Abercrombie does not equal better than anything. Anyone over the age of 18 realizes this.

buddiesmama on

The best way to protest is DON’T buy their clothes. Simple as that. If you start attacking his pocketbook, he’s going to have to at least listen, or go broke.

AF Sucks on

Abercrombie is for kids. It is completely cookie cutter. Individuality is cool. Benjamin O’Keefe seems to be outspoken. Soon he’ll be glad he isn’t wearing these clothes.

jason on

Its funny how this CEO says his companies clothes are for the cool kids but really none of the of the clothes are really what people like. At least we can all feel better knowing he can’t were the clothes cause he is not a good looking person

Kristen on

The issue that has gotten completely lost in all of this is it’s not about their marketing strategy. We get it. I don’t want them to start catering to plus sizes (or even regular human sizes), there are other stores that do that. Sell what you want. You’ll find buyers or you won’t. I think what most people are upset about is his attitude, which makes him sound like he’s perpetually stuck in 7th grade wishing he was one of the “cool kids”. It’s unfortunate because it’s so obvious that he wasn’t one of the cool kids back then and still isn’t. He is only anything and everything to people around him because he managed to make a lot of money. That does not equal success or “being cool”.

Kayla Bryson on

This man obviously doesn’t care about the people that are not little sticks like he uses as models. There are others, including me, who have curves unlike others.

DS on

I don’t understand what the big deal is. There are many stores for overweight people, Salon Z stuff etc. and noone complains about that. Suddenly, there is a store who carries the largest size L and it is a problem. Mind you, size L is a big size and not for skinny people, as it is complained. Also, most of luxury brands (and this one does not belong here but perhaps aims for it) carries small sizes only, I mean when you try to get sz 6 it is considered “heavier”, so what’s really the big deal here.

maya on

Over-priced silly clothes for superficial people who buy into the hype that wearing their brand makes them ‘cool’ or ‘hip’. Wake up kiddies, the only winner is the company who takes in your hard earned cash while you’re out there looking goofy.

Rose on

You know I have to wear an XL shirt because I have tig ol bitties, so it’s not really fair to me (the prices aren’t fair either, but I digress). So can I not wear A&F because of my breasts?

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