Here’s what (allegedly!) went down: According to TMZ, model Benjamine Bowers was just a lowly salesperson in his local Abercrombie store when an A&F casting director realized he might have talents beyond folding polos. He referred Bowers to modeling agent Brian Hilburn, who then flew him out to Jackson, Mississippi for a photo shoot.
What happened next (again, allegedly) is the stuff of the Model Alliance‘s nightmares. In order for Bowers to look more ‘relaxed’ in his photos, Hilburn suggested he, well… touch himself, on camera, buck nekkid. As TMZ so eloquently puts it, Bowers “took matters into his own hands.” Why he complied, we’re at a loss. Maybe the O-face is the next Blue Steel.
But it didn’t end there. Bowers says that the frisky shoot inspired Hilburn to disrobe as well, leading to an obligatory size comparison conversation. And it seems that all this foul play was for naught: A year after the incident, Bowers has concluded that the whole thing was simply for the agent’s own sick satisfaction and was never meant to further his career. You don’t say! Unsurprisingly, Bowers is now suing both Hilburn and A&F for $1 million… which we actually think seems a little on the low side for an accusation as serious as this one.
Abercrombie & Fitch has weathered its fair share of controversy and the company historically doesn’t shy away from sexual imagery–just check out the A&F Quarterly. So even though Bowers’s disturbing accusations aren’t maybe the most surprising, it’ll definitely make us stop and think the next time we’re about to tear out an A&F ad and pin in to our bedroom wall. Not that we still do that or anything.