For nearly 15 years, the image conscious retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has been dogged by accusations of overt discrimination. Despite paying out $71,000 in 2013 to settle discrimination lawsuits and even fighting a case all the way to the Supreme Court, it appears that not much has changed at the massive international retailer known for shirtless greeters and dark, loud,stores.
According to an essay penned by an anonymous employee over at XOJane, “IT HAPPENED TO ME: I’m An In-Store Abercrombie “Model” and I’ve Witnessed Discrimination and Racism” discriminatory practices are still alive and well at Abercrombie. The current in-store “model” details witnessing awful discrimination, particularly in terms of how black employees were treated.
On one particularly horrifying instance, most of the black models were sent home an hour early before their shifts ended and before Jeffries was scheduled to visit. One of the models complained to the confidential company hotline of racism on the manager’s part, and the security team conducted an investigation.
The manager, of course, denied any racial bias. Unfortunately the investigation led nowhere, because there wasn’t enough “substantial evidence” to prove that her actions were racially motivated.
And then, there’s this,
There was only one black greeter in the entire store, and he was also the first black greeter chosen in five years. FIVE YEARS! When the other black model who was up for that position asked the managers why he wasn’t chosen, he was told that his look wasn’t “exotic” enough.
A rep at Abercrombie & Fitch responded when asked about the allegations,
“Abercrombie and Fitch has a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. We take any allegations of this nature very seriously, and are investigating this matter.”