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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by the way on

Not enough. Not by a long shot. To say that his company is an “aspirational brand” means “a large segment of its exposure audience wishes to own it, but for economical reasons cannot” (wikipedia) Usually this applied to extremely expensive items like Maybach cars which are extremely expensive and quite limited in production. It sounds like his little brand is still for the cool kids…especially rich ones.

dsadsa on

Listen- Abercrombie has every right to market its brand to a certain “type” of people…rich, small, good-lookiing or whatever. If they are able to stay in business selling over-priced goods then so be it. That’s how capitalism works- if YOU don’t like it don’t buy it. I personally hate Abercrombie clothes but I’m so sick of PC America. He has a RIGHT to market to whom ever he chooses. It would be different if they didn’t allow or prohibited certain people from buying their clothes or walking in their store (minorities/racial discrimination etc.) but that isn’t the case. If you are heavier (by whatever Abercrombie scale) they don’t have clothes that will fit you. Go elsewhere and they lose your business. Period.

RUTH on

IT IS FOR THE COOL KIDS SO GET OVER THAT…. IF YOUR HAPPY AS YOU ARE IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOUR GOING TO WEAR SO WHY ARE WE PUTTING SO MUCH ENERGY INTO THIS. THERE’S BRAND FOR BIG PEOPLE SHOULD SKINNY PEOPLE OBJECT TOO? WASTE OF ENERGY

RUTH on

I AGREE WITH YOU DSADSA.

SELMA on

Ruth… amen to what you said.

trixierix on

I call for a boycott of Lane Bryant. I went in once and couldn’t find any tops in a size xs. I find this discriminatory.

SumDog on

@RUTH it’s you’re.

MelJ on

Does Lane Bryant cater to smaller women? No, it’s a plus-size only store. Does Victoria’s Secret have large undergarment sizes? Nope.

Should Abercrombie & Fitch carry sansa-belt pants and suspenders for older citizens? Geesh, much ado about nothing!

Crystal on

When Jeffries says only the “cool” kids can shop at A&F, meaning they are good-looking, athletic, and wealthy, and what he later adds that the “uncool” kids aren’t allowed to shop at A&F, meaning the ones who don’t follow the trends or fit into the A&F brand/marketing target audience, he is discriminating against others. What a hypocrite!

Stephanie on

It’s ridiculous that people are making a big deal over this. Abercrombie has every right to choose what products it sells and what products it doesn’t sell. If you don’t like it or you don’t fit in their clothes, go shop somewhere else.

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