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

FILED UNDER: Fashion

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Showing 252 comments

sssssss on

I’ll start out by saying Abercrombie was so ten years ago. But really, this whole thing, who really cares? If you don’t like it, don’t shop there. If you can’t fit into clothes there, lose the weight you should probably lose for your own well being or go find a plus size store that you will fit into. Why don’t we complain about plus-size stores not carrying sizes smaller than whatever the smallest plus-size is? Or how about those of us who are too short for the smallest size in women’s? Why don’t we complain that they don’t make pants short enough for us? Seriously, there are bigger things to fight in this world….

SP on

Jeffries symbolizes the reason why Americans continue to practice bigotry and be known for intolerance of gender, race, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, language, and socioeconomic status.
He can market to whomever he chooses, however, to say it aloud and for it to become the focus of the media plainly sucks. Young consumers see this exclusivity and perpetuate it. They are trying to find who they are and where they fit in the world. People like Jeffries portray the shallow idealism of uneducated adults — the group of people that live in their small world and are just a pure annoyance. Unfortunately, the younger, impressionable generation needs to be told that life isn’t just high school and the Jeffries in this world mean nothing. I find them to be quite entertaining and feel sad for their pathetic lives. Stop projecting, Jeffries, and take a look in the mirror.

JB on

I have never understood why people want to wear clothes with someone else’s name written all over them anyway. That’s all :-)

sydney on

Who cares what he says. Just don’t buy the clothes, and when they go out of business, we will see how “cool” the clothes really are.

momof3 on

This statement is from 2006. Why is it being brought up again? Every store focuses their sales on a certain demographic. Should I be mad that my husband can’t buy clothes at “Big & Tall”??? Of course not.

kate mcdowell on

He is still a pig.

rebacan on

I never did see what the issue was. It’s their store and their bottom line and they can sell what they want to whomever they want.

BBHB on

The man is still a jerk. No one in my house will be wearing is tacky, overpriced clothes.

Tamara on

He shouldn’t have even said anything. Obese people should not wear A&F clothes. Get a grip and a diet Pepsi.

Heather on

Who wears A&F anymore anyway? I think the cool kids have moved on…

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