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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 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 252 comments

sylvie on

I love this argument about stores like Lane Bryant or whatever that cater to bigger size people-why were they created? because most stores do not have clothes over size 16- so bigger people have fewer choices for clothes that are in. I’m not that size, more like a 14, but there are places that I can’t fit into-despite the fact I’m very active and healthy-I’ll never be size 4….and I’ll never let me daughter in this store..ever!!!

belinda b on

Hysterical…..look at the picture. Diversity and inclusion…. hahahahahaha. White guys with amazing pecs and abs that vary in height by 3 inches.

tz on

I hope his body is better than his face. If he based his clothes on what his face looked like he probably would be paper baggin it.

lsingh2013 on

Dsadsa I’m sorry, but I think you (and others who are using your logic) are sorely misguided. Sure a company can cater to whomever the heck it wants. But as customers, and more importantly human beings, we ALSO have have the right to speak out if we have an issues with the principles and practices of a company.

Adelina on

Committed to inclusion?!!! Oh, please. Give me a break!!! Using your sizing guidelines, you’ve EXCLUDED a significant portion of the population!! Empty words. And for those who tout Lane Bryant, etc. as stores who do the same thing in reverse, etc. — these stores *had* to specialize since people “of size” couldn’t find clothing items at other stores in the first place!

L on

Dsadsa I’m sorry, but I think you (and others who are using your logic) are sorely misguided. Sure a company can cater to whomever the heck it wants. But as customers, and more importantly human beings, we ALSO have have the right to speak out if we have an issues with the principles and practices of a company.

Mia on

What’s funny to me is the CEO himself is nit the least bit attractive., si I hope he’s not wearing the clothes either, cause they definitely are not made for people like him

Shannon on

I really could care less what sizes a store carries. I think what bothers people the most is his comments about why they carry those sizes. If he would have just kept his mouth shut it wouldn’t have been such a big deal.

April on

Please just boycott that dumb store. Spend your hard-earned money elsewhere. Then we can all have the last laugh when his sales hit rock bottom.

dirtdogs on

they have every right to be as exclusionary, aspirational, or obnoxious as they wish to be. put it out there….and let the public decide. i stopped shopping there a long time ago when i figured out what they were all about, and if enough people are turned off by their policies and refuse to shop there they will go belly-up. if they thrive on their ‘aspirational’ ideals then there are enough shoppers out there who like this exclusivity and, like it or not, they have the right to spend their dollars there.

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