Group Decries Thongs for Preteens
May. 23, 2002
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NEW ALBANY, Ohio (AP) _ Abercrombie & Fitch, frequently criticized for its sexually suggestive catalog, is under attack for selling children's thong underwear with the words ``eye candy'' and ``wink wink'' printed on the front.
The group behind the latest protest against the company says its members are being told the underwear has been pulled from shelves. The company says that isn't true.
``I spoke to them and they told me they pulled it,'' Randy Sharp, a spokesman for the American Family Association in Tupelo, Miss., said Thursday.
Members of OneMillionMoms.com and OneMillionDads.com, a project of the association, were asked to send e-mails to the company on Tuesday to protest the sale of the underwear. Sharp said 7,000 e-mails were sent within two hours and members then began to call the company.
Lorenzo Demiranda, a spokesman for Abercrombie in New York, said he had no information that the stores had pulled the thongs from their shelves.
Meanwhile, 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 the company's merchandise.
Abercrombie & Fitch, based in this suburb of Columbus, has defended the sale of the underwear, designed for girls age 10 and older. The underwear was part of the spring and summer line.
``The underwear for young girls was created with the intent to be lighthearted and cute,'' the company said in a statement Wednesday. ``Any misrepresentation of that is purely in the eye of the beholder.''
``They're using perversion to put money in their pockets and that is wrong,'' he said.
It is the latest controversy involving the company.
A&F removed a line of T-shirts from its stores last month after receiving complaints from Asian-Americans. One shirt depicted two slant-eyed men in conical hats and the slogan ``Wong Brothers Laundry Service _ Two Wongs Can Make it White.''
Its quarterly catalog has come under fire from women's organizations, politicians and family groups because of young, barely clad models in sexually suggestive poses and some of its stories, which have included an interview with a porn star.
Abercrombie & Fitch recalled a 1998 catalog after anti-drunken driving groups objected to a two-page article called ``Drinking 101'' that gave directions for ``creative drinking.''