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New Abercrombie & Fitch Anti-Bullying Scholarship Draws Mixed Reaction

Clothing maker Abercrombie & Fitch has announced that it will be giving a college scholarship to a high school student who has achieved academic success in the face of bullying as part of a new anti-bullying campaign. Not all that surprisingly though, the campaign has been met with mixed reactions. In a statement about the scholarship, CEO Mike Jeffries said, “We are fully committed to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion—one in which no young person should ever feel intimidated, especially at school, whether for the clothes they wear, or because someone perceives them as different.” Though one anti-bullying advocate told The Huffington Post that the campaign was “a positive step,” another leading A&F protestor said that the new move is “hypocrisy” because the brand isn’t doing anything to actually change its marketing or clothes.

Ironically, promoting exclusion is exactly is what got Jeffries and A&F in trouble in the first place. In a 2006 interview, which recently came under renewed scrutiny, Jefferies told Salon that the brand intentionally tries to only appeal to the cool kids, excluding “uncool” ones and refusing to offer larger sizes for women. A company spokesperson said that the brand may offer larger sizes for women in the future, but for now they didn’t make up enough percentage of sales to be justified. And unlike H&M and some other brands that intentionally show diversity in body-types in advertising, A&F has announced no plans to change their marketing strategy …

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