During the meeting, 18-year old activist Benjamin O’Keefe — whose Change.org petition urged A&F to carry larger sizes – Lyne Grefe, the CEO of the National Eating Disorder Association, among others, urged Abercrombie executives to add bigger clothes to store shelves, feature larger models in their branding efforts, cease hawking hyper sexualized advertising to its teen audience and redefine its warped, harmful notions of cool, O’Keefe told Forbes.com.
Although the CEO was not at the meeting, the retailer offered a tacit apology for Jeffries’ remarks seven years ago, which included this gem: “A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes] and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
A&F’s DNA is about “telling people they can’t be cool unless they look a certain way,” O’Keefe said.
In turn, “Abercrombie is not synonymous with cool. It’s synonymous with cruel,” O’Keefe said he told the executives.
“I framed the discussion around redefining cool … we also made suggestions about holding a bullying symposium, because the comments of Mike Jeffries were those of a bully,” he said.