Looks like Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t want to be “Ed Hardy-ed.”
In what was either a sincere request to preserve their brand or a monumental publicity stunt, Abercrombie & Fitch issued a press release Wednesday (Aug. 17) offering “Jersey Shore” star Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino to stop wearing their apparel.
“We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino`s association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image,” Abercrombie & Fitch says in a statement. “We have therefore offered a substantial payment to Michael ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino and the producers of MTV`s ‘The Jersey Shore’ to have the character wear an alternate brand.”
Sorrentino’s publicist declined to comment on the request.
This is just the latest in a series of highly controversial decisions from the Ohio-based retailer. Their A&F Quarterly catalog, which ran from 1997 to 2003, drew fire for nude photography, interviews with porn stars and drinking-game ideas. The company ran into further problems in 2002 for selling a T-shirt that said “Wong Brothers Laundry Service — Two Wongs Can Make It White” with images of Chinese immigrants. This prompted a boycott by Asian American students from Stanford University. Its children’s retailer, abercrombie kids, drew fire for selling thong underwear for pre-teens that featured slogans like “Eye Candy” and “Wink Wink” printed on them.
Wall Street didn’t like the news, and in early trading Abercrombie & Fitch stock is down $6.43 (9 percent).