Abercrombie & Fitch has issued an apology to customers for excluding bigger women from its clothing line and stores.
"We look forward to continuing this dialogue and taking concrete steps to demonstrate our commitment to anti-bullying in addition to our ongoing support of diversity and inclusion," Abercrombie & Fitch said in a press statement. "We want to reiterate that we sincerely regret and apologize for any offense caused by comments we have made in the past which are contrary to these values."
It's quite a turnaround for the company that once bragged about being "exclusionary" in its advertisements, product lines, and clothing.
"In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so- cool kids," CEO Mike Jeffries said in a Salon article. "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."
Those comments set off a firestorm of responses, including a video and Twitter trend #fitchthehomeless. Greg Karber decided to raid second-hand clothing stores, purchase Abercrombie & Fitch clothing, and distribute them to the homeless in an attempt to show that everyone can wear the label.
Benjamin O'Keefe, 18, created an online petition asking Abercrombie & Fitch to expand their clothing sizes to 10 and above, or Large and XL. At least 70,000 people have signed the petition.
Plus-size blogger, Jes M. Baker, created her own ads mocking the company. She wore a T-shirt with the Abercrombie & Fitch logo, with the words "Attractive & Fat" imposed on the photo.
"The only thing you've done through your comments is reinforce the unoriginal concept that fat women are social failures, valueless, and undesirable. Your apology doesn't change this," Baker wrote.
Ellen DeGeneres also commented on the situation, using her TV monologue to address the underlying attitude promoted by the company.
"What you look like on the outside is not what makes you cool at all. I mean, I had a mullet and I wore parachute pants for a long, long time. And I'm doin' OK," DeGeneres said.
Watch DeGeneres' monologue HERE: