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Abercrombie apologizes for CEO's comments, pledges 'inclusivity'

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   May 23, 2013 at 9:09 PM   |   Comments

May 23 (UPI) -- Prompted by controversy over recently resurfaced comments CEO Mike Jeffries made in 2006, in which he said that his store only marketed to "cool, good-looking people," Abercombie & Fitch issued an apology:

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. 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.

According to the Huffington Post, the clothing brand's apology comes in the wake of a meeting with teen activists who had stormed the company's headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.

Also at the meeting was Benjamin O'Keefe, an eating disorder survivor, who took umbrage at the store's refusal to sell above a size 10, People reported. O'Keefe started a Change.org petition calling for Abercrombie to "make clothes for teens of all sizes."

"I'm happy to hear that Abercrombie took my passion and your voices to heart in this meeting and plans to take concrete steps to show their support for diversity and inclusion," O'Keefe said.

The company already issued this statement from Jeffries via Facebook last week:

I want to address some of my comments that have been circulating from a 2006 interview. While I believe this 7 year old, resurrected quote has been taken out of context, I sincerely regret that my choice of words was interpreted in a manner that has caused offense. A&F is an aspirational brand that, like most specialty apparel brands, targets its marketing at a particular segment of customers. However, we care about the broader communities in which we operate and are strongly committed to diversity and inclusion. We hire good people who share these values. We are completely opposed to any discrimination, bullying, derogatory characterizations or other anti-social behavior based on race, gender, body type or other individual characteristics.
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