Abercrombie and Fitch comment stirs up controversy

A&F: Doesn't want extra large customers

By Sheli Muniz - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Abercrombie and Fitch says that it doesn't want anybody that is an extra large wearing the brand. That comment, made several years back, has resurfaced ahead of a book on retail.

The CEO's comment did not sit well with a lot of people, including an 18-year-old Orlando guy who started an online petition, and so far he has thousands agreeing with him.

"When I was younger, the cool hip thing was to wear Abercrombie and Fitch, and I couldn't do it. I think for young people, although it seems silly now, that really affected me," said Benjamin O'Keefe.

If you walk into Abercrombie and Fitch, you will notice that the clothes do not go beyond size large.

Now, comments the company's CEO Mike Jeffries, made several years ago have resurfaced.

The author of "New Rules of Retail" by Robin Lewis, said, "Mike Jeffries doesn't want his core customers to see people who aren't as hot as them wearing his clothing."

"I read it and I was shocked. I thought it must be some internet sensation and it wasn't," said O'Keefe.

So, Benjamin O'Keefe started a petition on Change.org. He wants the CEO to change the stance on plus-size clothing and apologize.

"His brand is targeted at young people and the thing is that young people are incredibly impressionable, and I know personally, struggling with an eating disorder myself, the words that people say can have a really strong affect on you," said O'Keefe.

It looks like Benjamin isn't alone. His petition is now gaining global attention with more than 7,000 signatures.

"I would never wear Abercrombie and Fitch again, but there are people who do want to wear it and deserve to if that's something that they want to do," said O'Keefe.

Meanwhile, protestors gathered Monday outside of an Abercrombie and Fitch in Chicago to protest the anti-plus size stance.

Local 10 did reach out to Abercrombie and Fitch, but they had no comment.

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