The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch delves into charges of a poisonous culture inside the company
When being met at the door, who can forget the sculpted abs, the powerful fragrance of cologne, and the mega-watt smiles? In the late 1990s, Abercrombie & Fitch was a popular clothing company. It has since been tarnished by accusations that it has a bad work environment.
The documentary White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch, which details the dark side of one of America’s most popular retail firms that was once a “pop-culture sensation,” arrives on Netflix tonight.
One respondent claimed that “Ambercrombie was founded on bigotry at every level.” There’s a reason that brand was popular. “We live in a society where people are excluded.”
Carla Barrientos, a former employee who worked at her local A & F in the Valley Plaza Mall when she was 19, mirrored her sentiments.
“The whole culture of what’s cool and who’s cool is nonsense; it doesn’t matter.” The film delves into the company’s contentious hiring and firing practices in the past, as well as its workplace culture.
She went on to say, “I mean, this was the practice.” Something was going on that didn’t match up with my real existence. “I went into a store and noticed that I had been hired to work on the floor, and everyone on the floor was white.”
Mike Jeffries, the former CEO of A & F, was also chastised for acknowledging that their marketing strategy was aimed “at the cool kids,” saying, “A lot of people don’t belong [in our garments], and they can’t belong.” Are we excluding people? Absolutely. “
In the future, he said that “we are completely opposed to any discrimination or bullying, derogatory characterizations, or other anti-social behavior based on race or gender, body type, or other individual characteristics.”
According to the document, Barrientos and several other ex-employees were plaintiffs in a discrimination class action complaint filed against A & F in 2003. The next year, the lawsuit was resolved for $40 million.
Fran Horowitz-Bonadies was then hired as CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch in 2017, and she reportedly told CNBC that “we are no longer the brand that we used to be” and that the company will be moving forward in a positive fashion.