COMMENTARY | To stipulate from the start, your humble correspondent has not seen even a single episode of “Jersey Shore.” Nor has he worn (at least to his knowledge) anything from Abercombie & Fitch.
However, the idea that a clothing manufacturer would pay a group of celebrities not to wear its product seems bizarre. Apparently Abercrombie & Fitch feels the hard-partying cast of “Jersey Shore,” a show about a group of Italian Americans who spend their time hooking up, drinking, and getting into trouble with the law, ought not to be associated with the clothing line, especially a cast member named Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino. According to CNNMoney, the company released the following statement:
“We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino’s association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image. We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans.” .
In any event, Abercrombie & Fitch apparently feels a gang of Guidos and Guidettes, which includes characters with colorful names like “Snookie,” “J-Woww,” and “Pauly-D,” drinking, partying, and so forth does not convey the image the brand is looking for to benefit the clothing line. Abercrombie & Fitch markets casual clothing to the young and foolish — just the sort of people who watch “Jersey Shore.”
Considering the sorts of controversies Abercrombie & Fitch has brought down on itself, ranging from selling a shirt that had the caption “Wong Brothers Laundry Service-Two Wongs Can Make It White” to selling thong underwear to pre-teens, one wonders what the fuss is about.
It seems unusually fastidious that a company that sells clothing to just the sort of people who inhabit “Jersey Shore” would not want any of the cast members to wear company apparel and will pay good money to make them stop. What sort of celebrity would be more of a fit for Abercrombie & Fitch getups if not people like the Situation and Snookie, who have apparently descended upon Florence, Italy, to do pretty much what they did in America (hopefully not anywhere close to the art museums and the Renaissance palazzos)? Maybe some guidance could be given so that no other celebrity will make the same mistake.
Sources: Abercrombie to ‘Jersey Shore’: Ditch our brand, Laure Segall, CNN Money, August 17, 2011
Humoring Ethnic America: Abercrombie & Fitch Still Doesn’t Get It, Emil Guillermo, San Francisco Chronicle, April 23, 2002