Thursday, May 23, 2002

Abercrombie & Fitch has found itself in yet another controversy with its newest offering: thong underwear with sexual phrases for children.
The New Albany, Ohio, clothing chain, known for its provocative ads and sexually oriented catalogs, started offering thong underwear with sexual phrases for children.
The skimpy undies were made for girls 10 and older with the words “eye candy” and “wink wink” printed on the front.
But don’t expect to see them in Washington-area stores. A salesperson at the Abercrombie store at Fair Oaks said the underwear line was recalled Tuesday night and was sent back to the company’s home office.
Abercrombie officials could not be reached for comment.
Family-advocacy groups and Christian organizations started a protest to boycott the underwear line. and, a project of the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association, said it sent 70,000 e-mails to Abercrombie & Fitch to protest the children’s thong.
And the American Decency Association, a nonprofit Christian organization, said it sent an e-mail to its supporters informing them of the retailer’s latest marketing campaign and called for a boycott of Abercrombie & Fitch merchandise.
The college clothier, which targets 18-to-22-year olds, is no stranger to controversy.
The company’s sexually explicit catalogs have outraged consumer groups before, prompting several to try to stop the retailer’s racy ways. Illinois Lt. Gov. Corinne Wood started one such effort a year ago with Web site
“For nearly three years now, I have been trying to persuade clothing retailer Abercrombie and Fitch that its practice of peddling soft porn in the guise of a clothing catalog is offensive and irresponsible,” Mrs. Wood says in a letter on the Web site.
Her latest beef is with Abercrombie’s $6 summer catalog, “Wet, Hot Summer Fun XXX.”
“The summer catalog continues to push the envelope far past respectable advertising practices,” she writes.
“The catalog boasts page after page of fully nude models portrayed in sexual positions.”
In April, Abercrombie hit the news again when it began offering a line of T-shirts with Asian cartoon characters and matching ethnic slogans. The shirts had such phrases as: “Wong Brothers Laundry Service Two Wongs Can Make It White” and “Buddha Bash Get your Buddha on the floor.”
After controversy swirled around the now infamous T-shirts, Abercrombie pulled them from all of its 311 stores nationwide April 18.
This article is based in part on wire reports.

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