|What we plan
to do with the petition?The goal of boycott-AF.com in
collecting signatures is to show Abercrombie & Fitch,
along with other companies and America, the collective
power of the Asian American community along with those
that support its cause.
The vision is to release the full petition with names,
comments and indication of whether or not the signatures
are from a college student (their largest consumer group).
Given a positive response, it can then be illustrated
how our opinions are important for them to be conscious
of for financial reasons. In simple terms, we're not going
to buy your product if you do us wrong.
Hopefully, this opens the eyes of many companies to the
impact we have on their business and may even encourage
them to specifically target us with positive advertisements
to gain our loyalty.
Unified List of Demands
1. Permanently remove the entire line of offensive "Asian"
2. Publish a public apology from CEO Michael S. Jeffries
in the form of a one-page advertisement in all major newspapers.
Post this apology in all Abercrombie and Fitch stores,
page of the website, and the next issue of the quarterly
3. Restore public image and mend relationship with the
Asian Pacific American community and consumers through
increasing philanthropy and investment in the Asian Pacific
American community. In addition, we request that Abercrombie
and Fitch work with us to create and hire a new consultant
team to ensure sensitivity to minority issues.
4. Develop an educational and advertisement campaign with
positive images of Asian Pacific Americans and other people
of color. This campaign should promote the diversity of
and encourage understanding of diverse cultures and histories.
(An example is Timberland's "Give Racism the Boot"
5. Encourage consumers to return "Asian" T-shirts
and guarantee unconditional refund with incentives (ie.
vouchers or discount on future purchases).
6. Implement and improve diversity training for all employees
and diversify minority representation in its workforce.
While the company might complain that these demands are
excessive, one should note that the design of the shirts
and the company's insensitivity are truly extraordinary.
Else Can I Do?
Email the District Managers of A&F:
SAN FRANCISCO: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call 1-800-432-0888. The customer service rep will
tell you to WRITE via regular mail...
Mr. Tom Goulet, Customer Service Manager
Abercrombie & Fitch
6301 Fitch Path
New Albany, OH 43054
(614) 283-8977 FAX <--- give them your 2 cents
Send a FEEDBACK RESPONSE on their website HERE
and do as they ask: "Tell us what you really think..."
Can't think of anything to say? Use
To Abercrombie and Fitch from a lost customer:
I was highly disturbed after seeing your latest line of
graphic Tees with cartoons ridiculing Asian Americans.
I would like to think that in this time and age we, as
Americans, have overcome such immature and intolerant
displays. I am ashamed and angry that Abercrombie &
Fitch, a company I once held in high esteem, would stoop
so low as to rely on racial stereotypes to sell T-shirts.
I hope that you not only change whatever company climate
allowed those products to be released in the first place,
but also show that you are sincerely sorry by helping
Asian American non-profits, or maybe having Asian men
AND women in your marketing.
What organizations are saying:
of Chinese Americans, National Office
April 18, 2002
Contact: Christine Chen,
Washington, DC - The Organization of Chinese Americans
(OCA), a national nonprofit Asian Pacific American (APA)
civil rights and education group is outraged with t-shirts
created by retailer Abercrombie and Fitch Company that
display demeaning and degrading, stereotypical Asian
images and word plays.
Slanted eyes, rice paddy straw hats, and images of subservient
workers, are simply a few of the printed designs on
this series of six t-shirts. The statement, "Two
Wongs can make it white," makes fun of Asian accents
and questions the ability of Asians to pronounce "Rs".
Also, the statement "eat in or wok out" instead
of the correct spelling of "walk" is another
reference to the stereotypical belief that all Asian
people own fast food Chinese restaurants and have English
Other statements and images on these T-shirts trivialize
religion through phrases such as "Buddha Bash,
Get Your Buddha on the Floor." One shirt portrays
an Asian woman in a stereotypical subservient manner
similar to the Cameron pin-up, which was historically
painted on war planes during WWII.
According to retailer Abercrombie and Fitch, Company,
the new line of t-shirts was supposed to appeal to the
emerging Asian Pacific American market with an estimated
buying power of over $250 billion. The retailer targets
youth in their teen to college years, and utilizes marketing
strategies focused on contemporary styles that complement
the "classic American lifestyle."
"Unfortunately, in this case, the American lifestyle
is neither reflected nor complemented. This new generation
of consumers is not interested in wearing pieces of
clothing that ridicule Asian Pacific Americans.
Instead, angry complaints, phone calls, and e-mail campaigns
spread like wildfire among APA students, community members
and leaders nationwide, as well as other consumers of
various backgrounds who were equally as offended,"
said George M. Ong, OCA National President. The OCA
National Office was flooded with hundreds of inquiries
requesting guidance how to mobilize around this issue.
Asian Pacific Americans will not remain silent on this
"In our conversations with Abercrombie and Fitch
representatives, we underscored the tremendous outrage
of the Asian Pacific American community. We will continue
to coordinate a national campaign with APA student leaders
and community organizations to ensure that this kind
of blatant and racist material is not tolerated,"
stated Christine Chen, OCA Executive Director. "These
racist images were meant to be a parody, and the Asian
Pacific American community takes offense that a corporation
would use common stereotypes for cheap laughs and profit.
Our community has made huge strides in the struggle
for equality, but sadly, these derogatory t-shirts use
of these images devalues our progress, and are evidence
of the racial ignorance that still exists in this country.
We still have so much further to go."
After several discussions with Abercrombie and Fitch,
OCA was assured by company spokesperson Mr. Hampton
Carney, that they would pull this series of offensive
t-shirts out of all 311 stores nationwide.
In this instance, Abercrombie and Fitch seems to have
recognized its mistake, but it must assure the Asian
Pacific American community that it will change its corporate
climate so that these types of blunders will not persist.
As we head into May and prepare for the celebration
of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, OCA will be
asking Abercrombie and Fitch for a follow-up meeting
to discuss how the company might implement specific
strategies such as diversity and cultural sensitivity
training for the workforce, establishing a company policy
regarding the use of racial stereotypes and the use
of Asian Pacific American marketing firms who know and
understand the community. By appropriately investing
their resources, and taking steps to understand the
Asian Pacific American community, corporations can prevent
costly mistakes like this from occurring again.
OCA continues to urge community members to visit the
Abercrombie and Fitch stores to ensure that all the
derogatory merchandise has been removed and use your
voice to express your concerns to the local stores and
to the Abercrombie and Fitch national headquarters at:
1-800-432-0888 (customer service)
or write to:
Michael S. Jeffries, CEO
Abercrombie & Fitch
6301 Fitch Path
New Albany, OH 43054
In addition, all concerned consumers should continue
to express opinions and concerns to local media outlets
by submitting editorials. You can also initiate dialogue
or group discussions around this issue with your friends
and family to make sure that our community has a historical
perspective on why these images are derogatory and hurtful
and have no place in our society.
Asian Pacific American college students and young professionals
e-mailed 80-20 asking it to take action. They were outraged
because Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F), an upscale
retailer, put out a new line of 4 T-shirts with derogatory
portrayals of Asians.
80-20 called Michael Jeffries, Chairman and CEO of A&F
this morning. Two hours later, an executive with A&F
responded to 80-20 by saying that those $25 T-shirts
have been taken off the market.
80-20 wants to THANK all who e-mailed and assisted 80-20
in this matter. It also wants to applaud those who have
already communicated their displeasure with A&F
directly. Although 80-20 found those T-shirts offensive,
it wants to commend Abercrombie & Fitch for its
swift action in realizing its insensitivity and pulling
the products immediately.
For those who want to know the events leading to this
happy ending, here is a brief description. One of A&F's
new T-shirts depicts Asians with slanted eyes and conical
hats. The T-shirt, with two Asian men at ``Wong Brothers
Laundry Service,'' carries the logo: ``Two Wongs Can
Make It White.'' Another T-shirt, called``Buddha Bash''
has a smiling Buddha figure with the logo: ``Get Your
Buddha On The Floor.'' [Pictures of the two T-shirts
are available at: http://www.80-20initiative.net/tshirts.html
, if you want to view them. The pictures will be deleted
in a week.]
APA youths began e-mailing 80-20 on Wednesday asking
80-20 to take action. 80-20 investigated the matter
and decided to take action. At 10:50 a.m. this morning
(Thursday), 80-20 president S. B. Woo called A&F
Chairman and CEO Michael Jeffries. Mr. Jefferies was
out of his office, so Woo left a message expressing
the wish for A&F to withdraw the products. He also
requested a call back. About two hours later, at 1:12
p.m., Mr. Seth Johnson, an executive with A&F called
back. He said that he was calling on behalf of Mr. Jeffries
who was not in town. He said that the products have
been pulled off the market, emphasizing however that
the T-shirts were meant to add humor, without intending
to offend anyone. A&F is issuing a press release
to the Associated Press regarding the withdrawal of
the T-shirts. A HAPPY ENDING!