American Apparel, a company that has engaged in some shady practices (including having a CEO who is incredibly gross, sexist and demeaning towards women — in this excerpt from an interview with a woman journalist, he proceeded to masturbate in front of her — link), decided to stoop to a new low when they came up with a competition for a plus sized woman to be the new face of their ‘Disco Pants’ – The Next Big Thing’ campaign.
Here’s the casting call notice:
Think you are the Next BIG Thing?
Calling curvy ladies everywhere! Our best-selling Disco Pant (and around 10 other sexy styles) are now available in size XL, for those of us who need a little extra wiggle room where it counts. We’re looking for fresh faces (and curvaceous bods) to fill these babies out. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next XLent model, send us photos of you and your junk to back it up. Just send us two recent photographs of yourself, one that clearly shows your face and one of your body. We’ll select a winner to be flown out to our Los Angeles headquarters to star in your own bootylicious photoshoot. Runners up will win an enviable assortment of our favorite new styles in XL!
Show us what you’re workin’ with!
Even though plus sized women apparently aren’t part of their demographic, they oh so graciously decided to let them compete for a chance for a photo shoot. No money, of course. Just the shoot. And some clothes. What champions.
So, Nancy Upton decided to challenge them. A US size 12 (roughly equivalent of an Australian 16) model, she sent in her photos, mocking their usual soft porn advertising. And she won.
Except, American Apparel didn’t realise that her shoot was a parody. But when they did, oh the backlash.
Nancy posted the official response from American Apaprel’s marketing director on her tumblr.
It’s far too long to quote for an article here, but do read it. It makes for infuriating reading. The vibe I get from the woman who wrote it is something along the lines of:
“You tricked us! You suck, fatty! You’re obviously making a big deal about nothing! Dov Charney is a wonderful man and anyone who doesn’t think so is obviously a hater.”
I am incredibly disgusted and disappointed. But not surprised. After hearing about all the practices the company engages in, the numerous stories about Mr Charney himself, I cannot, with good conscience, ever purchase anything from a company that sees absolutely nothing wrong with acting degradingly towards women and when called out about it, brushing off legitimate concerns as if they come from a minority voice.