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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

Emerie on

I’m plus size Gal and I find this whole thing ridiculous!! If you are over weight and walk into those types of stores expecting to find something to wear that’s your own fault for being dumb!! Any over weight person knows this… welcome to the wonderful world of being a fattie!! With that said I must add that Mike Jefferies has no room to talk about plus size people with that face. Yikes!

Lucy on

Most of you are missing the real point! The CEO of A&F is saying things are can be damaging to impressionable kids. The times we are living in today are extremely tough to say the least for kids especially girls. All they see around them bombarding their lives are body types that are probably out of reach for them. They are being given the impression that size 0 to 10 is the only size to be and anything more is a failure. Society is desperately trying to undo the damage being done by people like Jeffers that is why so many are PO’ed by what he is saying.

cheap christian louboutin shoes on

“Playful architectural forms and persuasive hues during the garden are what guiding this collection,” mentioned Asher, whose new pieces vary from $279 to $579. Just about every piece was fabricated in a very metallic studio in south La. The steel plant supports are handwelded and also have stainlesssteel components and cables.

Tina G on

Really people? You’re honestly offended for him telling the truth? Clothing brands such as this have been telling the truth for YEARS, and all of a sudden you’re offended? Victoria Secret, Fredrick’s of Hollywood.. they tell the truth every single time their ads run on tv, they might not voice it, but they’re telling YOU the truth every day, you choose to not believe what you’re seeing with your own eyes. Every single brand out there markets to a certain type of people.

Sammy on

Sure he can do what he wants and all, but lets be honest if you really wanna get down to it. He is basing clothing sales on “looks”, well he ain’t the best looking dude on the block so really, being as un-good-looking as he is, should he really be CEO? I say they need to get a better looking guy in for CEO, if you really wanna get down to it. Yeah, exactly, mean and rude right?

Deb on

As far as their “strongly committed to diversity and inclusion. We hire good people who share these values. We are completely opposed to any discrimination [or] bullying,” it’s a crock. My daughter had an interview there two weeks ago. She was told they prefer their “models” (that’s what they call their sales staff) look like they’ve rolled out of bed naturally beautiful. She was told she would have to re-dye her hair (which isn’t an outlandish color) and that she couldn’t wear any makeup except mascara. REALLY? Won’t spend another on any company that this man is in charge of!

Karen on

Abercrombie + Fitch = Bigotry

Regina on

While I do agree that he has the right to sell what he wants, the way he wants to, I disagree with the way he’s doing it. To be more specific, the words he uses to get his points across. Just because you’re not a specific weight doesn’t mean that you aren’t ‘cool’. Yes, he can target his apparel for whomever he wants to, but there’s no reason to sit there and out all the people who don’t fit his idea of a ‘cool’ or ‘fit’ person. The way he words his sentences are actually quite offensive. Just because you don’t believe a person is good enough to wear your clothing because of their weight or status doesn’t mean you have to be so negative towards the idea that they may, in fact, wish to wear your clothing. While it’s ridiculous that people are all upset about this, it’s ridiculous what this man is saying.

caitlins750 on

I don’t mind a clothing company that only sells certain sizes. I’ve always been on the larger end of the spectrum, and I’ve always known shops like A&F don’t carry my size. And that’s fine, whatever. I wouldn’t go to David’s Bridal looking for jeans, and I wouldn’t go to A&F looking for larger clothes. That’s just not what they do.

But what I do have a problem with is a company that up and tells those outside their target demographic that they are UNWORTHY of wearing their clothes, and that if they can’t wear their clothes then they are UNCOOL. That’s just sick. I’ve taken up running.

I’ve lost 7 pounds so far, and I can run up to 2.25 miles as of yesterday. Even if I get down to a size 10, I will never shop at A&F. Not unless they put their money where their mouth is and carry larger sizes.

Heidi on

Good for you Mike Jeffries! I agree with you.Plenty of other shops for the fatties!

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