The recent lawsuit brought against Dov Charney for allegedly choking an employee isn't the only reason American Apparel is in the news today: The retailer's risque digital campaigns have been deemed "irresponsible" by an advertising watchdog in the UK, The Telegraph is reporting.
According to the complaints, American Apparel's ads featured "gratuitous" nudity and the sexualization of models who appear to be under 16. We know... shocker.
One woman filed a complaint after visiting American Apparel's website with her 12-year-old daughter and found that a whopping 23 images advertising stockings and hosiery were "unnecessarily sexual" and inappropriate to be seen by children--which won't exactly surprise anyone who has ever visited the retailer's site before.
Another complaint objected to a series of digital ads which feature a model who appeared to be under the age of 16 in "overtly sexual" poses and in one case, with her breasts visible beneath a shirt.
While American Apparel defended the ads, saying they were "completely decent and were a fair representation of their product line," the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) disagreed.
In a statement, the UK group said:
"We considered both poses were sexually provocative and concluded that the images were irresponsible and likely to cause widespread offence, because they were displayed on a website which could be viewed by, and was likely to have appeal to, children under 16 years of age."
Therefore, the ASA concluded: "The ads must not appear again."
So far this ruling is only applicable in the UK, however we wouldn't be surprised if advertising watchdogs in the USA will soon follow suit. We've reached out to American Apparel for a statement and are waiting to hear back.