Wednesday, November 17, 2004

A&F gets diversifried

Diversity claims another victim. Abercrombie and Fitch, official clothing sponsor of the K-State Greek system, has been slapped with a lawsuit:

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission joined the private plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which alleged that Abercrombie & Fitch violated portions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The lawsuit specifically accused the company of engaging in recruiting and hiring practices that exclude minorities and adopting a virtually all-white marketing campaign.

"The retail industry and other industries need to know that businesses cannot discriminate against individuals under the auspice of a marketing strategy or a particular 'look'. Race and sex discrimination in employment are unlawful, and the EEOC will continue to aggressively pursue employers who choose to engage in such practices," said Eric Dreiband, the EEOC's general counsel.

So now marketing strategies that target a certain demographic, in this case the white preppy, have been declared illegal? Somebody better tell the Fubu website… not a white face in sight over there. And sex discrimination in clothes modeling is illegal? Well, Victoria Secret doesn’t have a single guy modeling their lingerie… surely this cynical, sexist advertising ploy must be stopped! I mean, for civil rights and all. Martin Luther didn’t march so wafer thin female supermodels could steal women’s underwear modeling jobs from husky, hirsute comic book aficionados.


The consent decree calls for Abercrombie & Fitch to hire a vice president of diversity and hire up to 25 diversity recruiters. The company also promised that its marketing materials would reflect diversity. [emphasis added]
Diversity, diversity, diversity. Does that word even have any meaning anymore? Did it ever? A&F is going to hire people whose stated job is to hire job applicants based solely on arbitrary physical characteristics, such as race and sex, and they call it a “diversity recruiter.” It' s good euphemism, but they should've gone the whole nine yards and went with "Supreme rectifiers of human nature and righteous advocates of multicolored employment." At least then the question of whether or not they have any shame wouldn't be so ambiguous.

Marketing material will also now reflect diversity. It will have less of the white demographic that usually buy A&F, and more of the black demographic that tend to shop elsewhere. Because, in our perfect little world represented by clothing advertisements, all hues of the rainbow are represented. Next, I wonder if they’re going to throw in some aesthetic diversity; acid burn victims, down-syndrome sufferers, and elephantitis patients would do a beautiful job rounding out the roster of clothes modelers. And would it kill them to throw in a little obesity here and there?

And then, get this:
The original lawsuit was brought on behalf of nine young minorities, including students and graduates of Stanford University and the University of California, who were denied jobs or fired based on their race.
Yes, that’s right, because of 9 people alleging racial discrimination, A&F is being brought to its knees, forced to pay $40 million in a class (or should it be race?) action law suit (plus $10 million to monitor compliance and cover attorneys' fees), change its marketing material to “reflect diversity,” and hire a vice president of diversity and 25 diversity recruiters. Because of 9 people.

Well, if they could bring down A&F, I need 8 volunteers (of the lily white variety) to help me bring down the apartheid monster, Fubu. You get to be a Civil Rights warrior, which, nowadays, seems to pay a lot better than it used to.

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