American Apparel ads are known to push people’s buttons. From exposed breasts to gratuitous pubic hair to weird watercolor nudes, it’s not surprising that several ads have already been banned in Britain. Now, more are being banned by the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Agency for “sexually suggestive, gratuitous and flirtatious” images and sexualizing seemingly underage models.
The ads in question are shilling tights and tees, two of American Apparel’s mainstays. According to the Guardian, a complaint was filed for “offensive, irresponsible, and overtly sexual” t-shirt ads that displayed the seemingly underage female models’ breasts underneath. The ASA said: “Because [the models'] breasts were visible through her shirt, we considered the images could be seen to sexualise a model who appeared to be a child”.
The second complaint was for hosiery ads featuring girls wearing, well, only hosiery. The woman who filed the hosiery complaint was shopping on the site with her 12-year-old daughter and came across 23 ads that were ”unnecessarily sexual and inappropriate for a website that could be seen by children”.
Naturally, American Apparel defended its ads and said they’re “completely decent and a fair representation of their product” and that the models are “real, non-airbrushed, everyday people”. Unsurprisingly, the ASA banned three of the 23 hosiery ads. The organization “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. The ads must not appear again”.
But since this is American Apparel we’re talking about, we’re betting that the same story crops up again in two months.