Porn-Influenced American Apparel Ads Raise Sales, Anger Woman

Jan 15, 2009 4:00 PM PST
WEST VANCOUVER, B.C. — A woman in West Vancouver has spoken out against the selling of pornographic magazines in worldwide locations of American Apparel, a retailer known in the adult industry for featuring Sasha Grey in one of its ad campaigns.

Trina Campbell said she and her 13-year-old daughter found a copy of BUTT, a quarterly gay-interest adult magazine, in the pocket of a backpack on display in the chain’s location in the Park Royal Shopping Center.

“I pulled it out and went to open it, and it flipped open to a double-page spread of two men having full-on sexual activity, not just suggestive,” Campbell said. “I don’t think this is something that average people want to see unless they’re ready or going out of the way to see it.”

When Campbell complained to store management, she was informed that the magazine was on display at the guidance of the company’s head office. According to the magazine’s website, BUTT is available “at every American Apparel location in the world.”

Although the store’s retail team said the magazines were carefully monitored, and that they never sell the magazines without checking IDs, Campbell said, “we didn’t have to produce ID to look at it, and it was too easily accessed.”

Immediately after hearing a radio report about the incident, a West Vancouver bylaw enforcement officer issued the store a $100 fine. The officer found the store in violation of a bylaw that requires adult publications featuring nudity to be kept on a shelf at least 1.2 meters from the floor.

Store management complied with the bylaw by putting the magazine in question under the counter.

American Apparel is known for racy advertising. A recent photo spread features Grey wearing nothing but a pair of thigh-high socks. Other company ads feature nearly nude models writhing around on beds or engaging in other forms of “suggestive” behavior.

Although the company has been plunged into debt by several lawsuits have been filed against American Apparel founder and CEO Dov Charney, the company recently reported a 3 percent sales growth for the month of December.

The lawsuits, which include allegations of sexual harassment, wrongful termination and financial mismanagement, are all still pending judgment.

Representatives from BUTT and American Apparel were not available for comment at time of post.

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