Friday, March 23, 2012

Abercrombie Elliminates Fake Online Store Using the "N-word"...

Counterfeit pants sold on fake online site with controversial labeling.  |  (image source)
This is explosive!

On March 22, word spread across the internet that Abercrombie & Fitch was selling "Nigger Brown" pants! But the whole thing is completely untrue and shocking!

The source of the controversy is a fake online store registered to a man by the name of Patrick Welch with a mailing address in North Carolina and an email address in Hong Kong.[source 1] Operating its counterfeit business with the A&F logo, the Chinese-registered site featured cargo pants with the label "Abercrombie & Fitch mpa11 Nigger Brown Pants men." After the item gained attention, word began spreading like wildfire. Naturally, the reality of the situation got lost somewhere along the way – as it always happens with all scandals – and people just kept saying Abercrombie was selling racist pants with the N-word.

People began posting on the official A&F Facebook page by 4:30 PM (Eastern Standard Time). By the sound of some of the comments, the administrator of the page was initially deleting the posts of people complaining about the scandal by possibly attempting to keep it down while the Company dealt with it. One user commented, "You can take down my post as I figured you would, I have already sent it to my over 600 facebook friends, and asked them to share it with their friends as well." By 5:53 PM (EST) a screenshot of the fake site was uploaded by another A&F fan on Facebook demanding an explanation....Abercrombie & Fitch now responded, "This is NOT our site and is NOT affiliated in any way with our company. We condemn the use of this word in any form."

By 7:05 PM (EST), Abercrombie & Fitch released a statement for everyone to read on its page: "It has come to our attention that counterfeit websites have posted an image that in no way reflects the Abercrombie & Fitch brand values or beliefs. Abercrombie & Fitch has a zero tolerance for discrimination and we do not condone racist language. We have initiated legal proceedings to shut down the counterfeit websites in question."[source 2]

Not only was the Company referring to that one fake site, but of countless other counterfeit business websites which copied the naming of the pants.[source 1] In a world where consumer power is greatly influential and empowered by social media, A&F acted quick to shut down the sites as a demonstration that it will not stand for derogatory language to be associated with its goods. The site which originally started it all has been shut down as of now. Supposedly, the inclusion of "nigger" was an error in translation of "dark brown" in Chinese to English. As the Business Insider shared, a couch with the same description was found online in 2007.[source 3]

This whole scandal has furthermore brought light to the fact that the counterfeit of A&F goods in Asia is a continuous issue that has really got to be dealt with more aggressively. The Company stepped up its efforts to combat counterfeit of its brands back in 2006 when it hired former FBI agent Shane Berry to lead its Abercrombie & Fitch Brand Protection team. Anti-counterfeiting staff was increased in Europe and in Southeast Asia with a more intense pursue of the illegal activities in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea – only Japan has A&F stores, and Singapore has one, too; and the brand will officially enter the Chinese market later this year with a flagship in Hong Kong.

The official websites for the A&F Family brands all carry a link to Brand Protection:
  • A&F Brand Protection (here) /
  • abercrombie kids Brand Protection (here) /
  • Hollister Co Brand Protection (here) /
  • Gilly Hicks Brand Protection (here) /
The official retail stores and the official online stores for the A&F Family are THE source for their authentic goods. Buy an item somewhere else and you run a high-risk of having purchased counterfeit merchandise. As devoted fans of the Company, we understand the value of its brands, the awesome in-store experience, and the cool feeling you get from purchasing from their incredible shops and from their official e-commerce sites. Help shut down the counterfeiting by reporting the illegal businesses to the Company!