The Spring Break 2001 catalog of Abercrombie & Fitch resembles a porn magazine aimed at teenagers. It also bashes Catholicism.
Inscribed on the plastic cover of the catalog is “A&F XXX Adventure: Get Wet Set & Go on Spring Break.” The publication, which retails for $6 in most parts of the country and $12 in New York, features male nudity (with a sprinkling of female nudity) and has a “warning label” on the plastic cover that reads, “Editor’s Note: Due to Mature Content Parental Consent Suggested For Readers Under Eighteen.” The catalog includes an interview with porn star Ron Jeremy, complete with graph sexual language.
On page 58, in the “Ask A&F” section, there are two questions posed by Catholic high school students. The questions, and answers, mock nuns and priests; the theme for both is homosexuality. On page 61, readers are advised to adorn their spring break hotel rooms with “palm fronds” that can be taken “for free if you crash a Catholic mass on Palm Sunday.” On page 110, there is a review of cult movies. Regarding “Cemetery Man,” readers are instructed how they can join in the fun. “One viewing is all it’ll take,” the piece instructs, “but learning to make wry comments after bashing a dead nun’s head to a pulp couldn’t hurt either.”
William Donohue went right after Abercrombie & Fitch, making his remarks available to the media:
“Abercrombie & Fitch’s marketing department has concluded that the best way to sell its pants is to flash models who don’t wear any. The clothes, they are convinced, do not make the man, which is why they feature two naked guys ridding a motor scooter on the cover of their catalog. I think that’s the point. But what do I know? I’m Catholic.
“What I do know is that it doesn’t take any guts to bash Catholics these days. Indeed, it’s sport with the sexually free crowd that A&F likes to target. In any event, we’re going to give Abercrombie & Fitch some free advertising: we’re going to let Catholics know exactly what the bad boys at A&F think of their religion. We’ll then see who gets the last laugh.”
Fox TV in New York picked up our release as a news story and it made the celebrity page of the New York Post, Page Six. When asked for a reply to the Catholic League statement, a spokesman for A&F said, “If we’ve offended anyone along the way, we offer our sincerest apologies.”
This remark shows how vacuous and insincere the company is. What’s the purpose of saying, “If we’ve offended anyone,” when it’s obvious that they have—otherwise they wouldn’t be on the defensive having to reply to us! Due to their insincerity, we urge all parents and grandparents not to buy clothes for their children and grandchildren at Abercrombie & Fitch.