Retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has apologized to representatives of the National Eating Disorder Association for comments made by the company's CEO in a 2006 interview.
The interview has been making the rounds again on activists' Internet blogs, including Tucsonan Jes Baker's blog "The Militant Baker," stirring new controversy across the Web this month.
Benjamin O'Keefe, 18, started a petition on Change.org in response to CEO Mike Jeffries' 2006 statements, including: "A lot of people don't belong (in our clothes), and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely." O'Keefe said he suffered from an eating disorder as a youth, claiming it was due largely to images like those Abercrombie promoted. The petition asked Abercrombie to stop promoting an "exclusionary" attitude and begin carrying larger sizes for "teens that struggle through weight problems." The petition collected more than 68,000 signatures.
A news release from Change.org says that Abercrombie issued an apology this week, stating its intention 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," Abercrombie said in a written statement.