Three separate lawsuits in New Jersey, California and Ohio have been filed against Abercrombie & Fitch that allege the clothier has racist hiring practices. The claims of the suits are all similar. Accomplished young competent people who wish to work for the company apply, but claim that they are turned away based solely on the color of their skin.
As you can imagine, this cannot be good news for a company already facing a tough holiday shopping season given the overwhelming public backlash to their catalog released for Christmas which encourages teens and young people to engage in group sex (among other things).
Since it was my column “Abercrombie & Fitch to your kids: Group sex now!” of two weeks ago that set off the national tidal wave against the retailer, everyone from my mother-in-law to people I have never talked to before have asked me for updates on Abercrombie & Fitch’s status. As of now, roughly 20,000 families have joined the effort to raise awareness in their own circles about the sexualized methods the retailer uses to promote its moral agenda upon the teens of America.
Each of these families has requested an information pack that gives them the ability to tell the Abercrombie & Fitch score to all of their friends the way I have been able to through the written and broadcast outlets I have access to. Just imagine 20,000 families having other families over for dinner and telling them the scoop on what Abercrombie & Fitch is doing to attract customers this Christmas season.
This past week, I was still monitoring the news concerning Abercrombie & Fitch when news of the lawsuits began to pour in. This past Sunday, while having dinner with one of the youth sponsors from a local church, I was informed that Abercrombie & Fitch personnel had been “recruiting” as of late, all of the homecoming kings and queens of area schools to come to work for them.
It’s a brilliant marketing strategy, actually. You recruit the most popular kids in school – they will usually be the prettiest, the best looking, the ones with the hottest bodies. In return, when one of these wonderstuds-babes goes to work for the clothier at their local mall – all of their friends come to visit the store. Even the kids who aren’t friends with them but know who they are may be inclined to go see the cutest girl in school as she folds the suggestive t-shirts for the tables in the little sex heaven that Abercrombie & Fitch has become.
The problem is, once you get that nasty “R” word associated with your company, it becomes really hard to erase. And now, there are three federal discrimination lawsuits filed and they have become a class-action pursuit.
“Where’s the proof,” you ask?
Well, take a stroll through your local Abercrombie & Fitch store. I did just today. It looked like the collection of supermodels and perfect people. The only problem was – their skin did all resemble the lighter hue.
Then there is the issue of the Christmas Quarterly. While I tried not to examine this year’s issue for too long, its lack of contribution in the form of naked bodies from anyone other than blonde and beautiful seems to offer a slight indictment all on its own.
And in a world where the decent people of this country have asked this historic clothier to keep its act in the healthy and non-sexually aggressive toward teens category, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that if they ignore the boundaries of decency, they won’t pay attention to the equities of race.
Some will argue that racism is a bigger blight on Abercrombie & Fitch. Some will argue the sexualization of teens is. My opinion on the matter is: When a company has decided to ignore its role of influence in the marketplace for the good, the good are not required to protect its place in the market.
Freedom is a stubborn thing. We who are free to raise our kids in a non-sexualized environment are also free to take a sledgehammer to the head of a corporation that insists on ignoring our freedoms, going over our heads, and planting sexualized ideas in the minds of our children. We are also free to speak out if racial discrimination has played a role in the hiring of the sales positions within Abercrombie & Fitch. But that is ultimately something the courts will now decide in a class-action suit.
This is the weekend after Thanksgiving, the busiest Christmas shopping weekend of the year. When you are headed to the mall, keep in mind that Abercrombie & Fitch is trying to sexualize your children. But beyond that, if your child is black, Latino or Asian, they may never be welcome to work there later in life. It’s a double insult with twice the impact and all of the social disgrace.
Ah … the heartfelt warmth of the holidays – there’s just nothing like it.