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The American fashion retailer Abercrombie and Fitch (A&F) recently published (and then deleted) a tweet that read, “The Pride community is everybody, not just LGBTQ people. — Kayla, merchandiser.” The tweet also tagged the LGBTQ suicide prevention organization, the Trevor Project, and included the hashtag #AnFxTrevor, meant to highlight the A&F’s pride fashion collection.
Twitter started dragging A&F immediately with comments like the following:
— “Pride is about being proud of being LGBTQ. That’s why it’s called
#Pride. If you respect us, don’t co-opt that—especially for profit!”
— “Okay but
#pride isnt about how straight people feel, they’re included in everything like damn let us have SOMETHING for once.”
— “How y’all gone All Lives Matter the LGBT community.”
Here’s an image of the original tweet:
A&F deleted the original tweet and then followed up with these tweeted messages: “Pride is an important time for the LGBTQ+ community. At A&F we work to ensure that everyone feels included, respected and empowered.
#pride” and “We are proud to show commitment to the LGBTQ+ community and to bring awareness to the important work the @TrevorProject does.”
The company has not always tried to be so inclusive. In a 2006 Salon interview, the now former A&F CEO Michael Jeffries said:
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive, all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes] and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
That exclusionary attitude extended into its advertising and hiring practices. The New Yorker notes:
“In 2004, the company agreed to pay fifty million dollars to several thousand employees in order to settle a class-action lawsuit charging that it discriminated against African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian-Americans in both its hiring practices and its advertising.”
The retailer also lost a 2015 Supreme Court case in which they tried to defend not hiring a young Muslim woman for wearing a head scarf to her job interview.
In December 2015, amid shareholder protests and months of declining store sales, Jeffries stepped down as A&F’s CEO, but the store is now learning the consequence of being too “inclusive.”
100% of the proceeds from the A&F pride collection will benefit The Trevor Project.