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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 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 252 comments

Sabrina on

He looks like the Beast from the 80′s show, “Beauty and the Beast”

K on

Is Abercrombie still relevant . I thought they went of style a few years ago.

DC on

I think a lot of you are missing the point here. It’s not that people are upset because A&F doesn’t sell plus sized clothes, it’s the words the CEO used that are offensive and way out of line. He basically said that they (A&F) only want cool, good looking, thin people wearing their clothes and working in their stores. Only the “cool kids”…not the “uncool kids.” If that isn’t being a bully, I don’t know what is. His full statement is all over the net if you want to read it…very rude, close minded and disrespectful in my opinion.

Julie on

Hey dsadsa and Ruth- Why shouldn’t they discriminate against other races? You find it completely acceptable that they discriminate against people who wear a size 10 and above. If he has the “RIGHT” as you so screamed it, then let him start discriminating against other races and as you put it “everyone can go elsewhere”

steve on

Mike Jeffries—One CREPPY looking guy–NOT COOL—-

Kendry on

It sounds like everyone commenting is 12 yrs old and that’s why they find this kind of behavior acceptable.

barbwilk on

Leave the man alone. He’s allowed to sell to whom he markets too without the backlash. I don’t particularly like it, but this is America and he can do this. Don’t shop there if you don’t like it, end of story.

barbwilk on

Don’t like it? Don’t shop there, end of story. He is allowed to market to whomever he chooses.

Cat2020 on

The CEO looks insane and far from good looking. Since he does not look like the brand he should retire. For the most part a&f is for super fake drunk frat and sorority people. Where does he think he has pretigous brand? Its known for sweat pants?!

Ashleigh on

Every single store markets to a certain segment of the population. I can’t shop in Lane Bryant because I’m not overweight, Forever 21 because I’m 35, Prada because I can’t afford them. Do they owe me apologies? Nope.

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