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American Apparel Ad Banned by British Authority

Action follows two complaints that the image appeared to sexualize a child.

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American Apparel Britains Advertising Standards Authority

The American Apparel ad banned by Britain's Advertising Standards Authority.

Photo By Courtesy Photo

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WRIST SLAP: An American Apparel ad that appeared on the back of Vice magazine has been banned by Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), following two complaints that the image appeared to sexualize a child. According to the ASA, the complaints said the ad was “offensive and irresponsible.” It showed a girl sitting on an office chair wearing a sweater, briefs, and knee-length socks. She was posed with her legs up on the chair, and her underwear was visible. American Apparel challenged the complaints, according to the ASA, arguing there was no nudity and “nothing to suggest anything overtly sexual or inappropriate was being portrayed.”

The brand insisted that the image was “tame and tasteful” in the context of fashion and underwear advertising and “did not believe the average person would find the image offensive.” It also said that the ad appeared in a publication written for adults, wearing products designed to be sold to adults.

American Apparel also confirmed that the model was over 18 years old, but the ASA has upheld the complaint, ruling that the ad must not appear in its current form again andwarned the brand “not to depict any model as inappropriately sexualized, who could, through their appearance or styling, appear to be a child.”

“Whilst we acknowledged the image did not contain any explicit nudity, we considered that the amateur style of the photo, the posing of the model with her legs up on an office style chair with her knickers showing, and the unsmiling expression on the model’s face meant the photo would be interpreted as having sexual undertones and a voyeuristic quality,” said the ASA. “We concluded the ad inappropriately sexualized a model who appeared to be a child and was therefore irresponsible.” A representative from the London office of American Apparel declined to comment.