Poster Police
February 4, 2008 9:49 AM   Subscribe

On Saturday police in Virginia Beach (VA) seized two promotional posters from an Abercrombie & Fitch store and have cited the manager of the store with an obscenity charge. "One [of the posters] shows a group of shirtless male models and one has his jeans low enough to show a part of his buttocks." "The other image is of a woman who is topless and whose 'breast is displayed with her hand covering just the nipple portion.'" Police spokesman Adam Bernstein: "An officer went and looked at them, and thought himself that they were pretty racy." The obscenity charge was issued under City Code Section 22.31 which makes it a crime to display "obscene materials in a business that is open to juveniles."

In 2003, the company halted publication of its 7-year-old A&F Quarterly catalog after the threat of a boycott led by by the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families regarding sexually suggestive photographs by award-winning photographer Bruce Weber.
posted by ericb (71 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Wait until American Apparel opens a store there.
posted by GuyZero at 9:52 AM on February 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


LOLPOORITANS
posted by matteo at 9:54 AM on February 4, 2008


I find it really hard to believe that A&F were the ONLY place in the area you could see a woman holding her hand over her boob (used to sell anything from skin cream to cars). What about other advertisers? I saw an almost naked woman photo on the side of a bus the other day, for crying out loud.
posted by agregoli at 9:57 AM on February 4, 2008


Seriously, this happened in Virginia Beach? Have they been in any store on the strip? Or am I thinking of a completely different scuzzy touristy hellhole?
posted by Benjy at 9:58 AM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Because kid's need to know that adults don't have buttocks.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:59 AM on February 4, 2008 [8 favorites]


My guess is the objection is less to the semi-exposed sweater puppy and more to the barely legal male models. This is just, you know, my personal speculation, though.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:59 AM on February 4, 2008


Isn't this the same town all my bluejacket buds down from Norf*ck used to call "Vagina Beach"?
posted by pax digita at 10:01 AM on February 4, 2008


I find it really hard to believe that A&F were the ONLY place in the area you could see a woman holding her hand over her boob (used to sell anything from skin cream to cars).

To be fair, they shut down the local creationist museum because the only thing covering Eve's boobs were a couple of leaves.
posted by billysumday at 10:03 AM on February 4, 2008


LOLPOORITANS

let this meme die oh please god
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:06 AM on February 4, 2008 [6 favorites]


So torn. On the one hand, free speech vs Puritan nutjobs. On the other hand, Abercrombie & Fitch.
posted by DU at 10:06 AM on February 4, 2008 [16 favorites]


one has his jeans low enough to show a part of his buttocks

"Dude, I'm not an old fart who wears his jeans up at his shoulders."
posted by anazgnos at 10:09 AM on February 4, 2008


Don't be afraid to visit Virginia Beach, though.
posted by not_on_display at 10:12 AM on February 4, 2008


Sweet Lord, that guy looks like Gary Busey after a mishap with a blast furnace.

As for the ads? A&F needs to keep stirring up controversy, otherwise somebody might notice how boring their clothes actually are.
posted by jonmc at 10:14 AM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


In related news: Naked Man Ad Riles Boston Catholics.
posted by ericb at 10:14 AM on February 4, 2008


I see this as the old, it's-only-pornographic-if-it-turns-me-on argument. Apparently the cop thought the pictures were hot.
posted by quin at 10:16 AM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh -- and no cursing in Virginia Beach.*
posted by ericb at 10:16 AM on February 4, 2008


Where is this boob picture? I must judge for myself.
posted by Mister_A at 10:21 AM on February 4, 2008


Publicity Stunt
posted by MotherTucker at 10:21 AM on February 4, 2008


To quote Ralph Wiggum: I like men now.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:22 AM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Scandalous adverst from Abercrombie & Fitch -- shocking! :o :o :o
posted by chunking express at 10:23 AM on February 4, 2008


Ugh. What a creep Jeffries is. I'm thinking it's only a matter of months before someone catches him in bed with a fourteen-year-old.

That said, my sympathies are with the store manager. I'm sure those posters came straight from Corporate, and identical ones are in every A&F store in the country. This is a rare case where "I was only following orders" is a justifiable defense.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:25 AM on February 4, 2008


Yet another ridiculous reason my area is on the map. Great. Like we needed another after Pat Robertson or those stupid no swearing signs.

I hate hate HATE those motherfucking goddamn no swearing signs.
posted by sephira at 10:26 AM on February 4, 2008


Fucking puritans. Go see a breast, it's healthy.
posted by popcassady at 10:26 AM on February 4, 2008


Go see a breast, it's healthy.

Nobody wants to show them one. That's how they became puritans.
posted by jonmc at 10:29 AM on February 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


FWIW, it's illegal in my town, Greenville, SC, to swear in public -- "disorderly conduct", up to 90 days in jail. It's also illegal (same "crime") to make any obscene gesture or call out in a loud and disruptive manner.

Pretty sure they just shoot you if you're caught with weed.
posted by LordSludge at 10:32 AM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


LordSludge writes "FWIW, it's illegal in my town, Greenville, SC, to swear in public -- 'disorderly conduct', up to 90 days in jail. It's also illegal (same 'crime') to make any obscene gesture or call out in a loud and disruptive manner."

How often is someone prosecuted or even cited for that crime for those reasons?
posted by krinklyfig at 10:35 AM on February 4, 2008


This guy probably just didn't get the "pay me" signal the cops were sending out. That or managed to piss off someone higher up. Doesn't this kind of bs happen all the time, everywhere?
posted by a robot made out of meat at 10:37 AM on February 4, 2008


AGHGHGHGHGHHG!!!


KILL IT! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:38 AM on February 4, 2008


Aw man.

The image wont link.

OK, go here and look at the damn pic:

Click


And then scream out in terror.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:40 AM on February 4, 2008


Fascinating stuff, Ed. And now, here's Chuck with the sports weekend wrapup.
posted by boo_radley at 10:44 AM on February 4, 2008


yea ... I lived in Virginia Beach for a year. (87-88)
It had to have ben the most conservative beach town I'd ever seen.
I imagine that it can't have changed that much in the last 20 years aside from more buildings.
posted by Dillenger69 at 10:48 AM on February 4, 2008


I'm sure those posters came straight from Corporate, and identical ones are in every A&F store in the country.

Yep, those exact posters are on the wall in all the A&Fs here in Collin County, Texas (75% straight-ticket GOP in 2004, woot, and home to more megachurches than any other metroplex in the country, woot2), so here's another vote for "one sheriff felt some discomfort beneath the Sam Browne and reacted accordingly."

Senor, did you mean "scream out in terror" because Jeffries is so em-effing creepy? He and Jocelyn Wildenstein should get together.
posted by pineapple at 10:49 AM on February 4, 2008



Aw man.

The image wont link.

OK, go here and look at the damn pic:

Click


And then scream out in terror.


I did- or my browser did... because it's Salon.
posted by Jay Reimenschneider at 10:51 AM on February 4, 2008


Yes pineapple, I did indeed.

Ya ever notice that the older that Shatner gets, and the more they smooth out his face, the more he starts to look like a baby? Like a Gerber baby.

This is like that, with way more plastic.

That look may work in a dimly lit bar dude, but eventually they are gonna see your Old Man Ballz.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:51 AM on February 4, 2008


I'm from neighboring Norfolk, a comparative hotbed of sin and iniquity. One would think that considering the amount of bikini advertisements, surf shop ads, and miles upon miles of actual exposed human flesh from May to September (though HARDLY A&F-quality) in VA Beach, this sort of thing wouldn't even elicit an eye-blink.

On the other hand, it IS Pat Robertson's home base.

Outraged, yes. Surprised -- not at all.
posted by chinese_fashion at 10:59 AM on February 4, 2008


jeans low enough to show a part of his buttocks
No such worries for this dapper fellow.
posted by punilux at 10:59 AM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sweet Lord, that guy looks like Gary Busey after a mishap with a blast furnace.

A+
posted by docpops at 11:02 AM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


punllux, I can't . . . ha ha . . . stop . . . hee hee . . . laughing . . . aha haHAH
posted by mistersquid at 11:02 AM on February 4, 2008


Wanna bet if Lane Bryant had a poster of a chubby woman posed the same way no one would say "boo"?


Because she's a "real woman" and "curvy". LOL


Americans....
posted by Jay Reimenschneider at 11:03 AM on February 4, 2008


Jay Reimenschneider, what the hell are you babbling about?
posted by jonmc at 11:06 AM on February 4, 2008


The cops're wary of busting up a Lane Bryant for fear of getting shot.

Too soon?
posted by item at 11:07 AM on February 4, 2008




That pic of the A&F CEO is beyond creepy.

"Hai guyz! Do you cool dudes like The Gnarls Barkley?"
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:10 AM on February 4, 2008


This isn't so out there. SOMEBODY has to think of the children, you know.

I once saw a woman breastfeeding in public. Luckily, before I was forced to intervene, a group of my right-minded neighbours stoned her to death.
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 11:11 AM on February 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


Jenna: Why don't you go to Abercrombie and Fitch.
Liz: No! It's too loud in there.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:12 AM on February 4, 2008


jeans low enough to show a part of his buttocks

Actually the buttocks-cleavage thing seems to be spreading (HAHA). Most of my co-workers are in their twenties and we do a lot of lifting and bending down, so at this point, I've seen the buttcracks of 75% of the staff. I'm not complaining, but I'm keeping my jeans belted at the waist as a badge of old-guydom and denying the world a glipse of my forbidden valley.
posted by jonmc at 11:14 AM on February 4, 2008


my forbidden valley

Also called the coin slot.
posted by Durin's Bane at 11:26 AM on February 4, 2008


Metafilter: denying the world a glimpse of my forbidden valley
posted by leapfrog at 11:26 AM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I await the birth of the uncanny forbidden valley.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:38 AM on February 4, 2008 [4 favorites]


I await the birth of the uncanny forbidden valley.

and their Dude Rach Dressing...
posted by jonmc at 11:41 AM on February 4, 2008


That pic of the A&F CEO is beyond creepy.

Yeah, you said it. I laughed out at this:

He's cool, he's beautiful, he's funny, he's masculine

Masculine? Seriously? Because the first thought that came to my mind was "That's a butch lesbian!"

/apologies
posted by splice at 11:54 AM on February 4, 2008


Where is this boob picture? I must judge for myself.

Here (via NBC News video segment).
posted by ericb at 12:01 PM on February 4, 2008


It's too loud in there.

Only if you want to talk or think ... just part of the business model.
posted by probablysteve at 12:02 PM on February 4, 2008


Just what is going on with you guys down there?
posted by KokuRyu at 12:18 PM on February 4, 2008


Given a history of White Supremacist activity in Virginia Beach (White-supremacy group sends hate mail to Beach complex) and the amazing ability such groups have shown to infiltrate the police, if I were on the PR team defending Abercrombie and Fitch, I would be reviewing all past posters and advertising materials to see if depictions of inter-racial contact are really what is behind this.

Racists in the police department couldn't publicly object to that, of course, they could only wait for some other excuse to come along.
posted by jamjam at 12:59 PM on February 4, 2008


There is a category of laws which apparently exist for no reason other than to provide the police a mechanism with which to harrass people they've taken a personal dislike to. Obscinity laws are the worst of that category due to the extremely vague nature of tha law.

I say repeal 'em. The First Amendment doesn't say "except for things that make prudes uncomfortable".
posted by sotonohito at 1:17 PM on February 4, 2008


I saw this on the back of a bus a few years back. For the first time, I saw the moralizers' point. Not because I object to the photo, but because, on the back of a bus in traffic, it was extremely distracting. In a store, though, I see no reasonable objection.

Jeffries' appearance is bizarre, and the net seems oddly bereft of photos of him. Major Peter Pan complex and the money to indulge it, it seems.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:56 PM on February 4, 2008


Go see a breast, it's healthy.

Nobody wants to show them one. That's how they became puritans.


jonmc,

I think I've seen you express something of the sort in relating to war-mongers and other topics as well. Namely that they can't get any skin, any love, any meaningful social connections and are projecting their jealousies. Can't tell if you're meaning them as jokes or not, but I think this is very insightful on why most of the sexually repressive demagogues, along with the average right-wing civilian bigot are the what they are.
posted by kigpig at 2:04 PM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


This thread is useless without deliberately controversial viral advertising posters.
posted by srboisvert at 2:23 PM on February 4, 2008


Cheesey pete, that CEO guy looks creepy. I pass by the A&F store whenever I'm in the mall, and I'm usually non plussed by the amount of nude/near nudes they have on display -- hell, most weekends, they have live male models there standing with 6 pack abs and no shirt. But I'm just nonplussed, you know, because I understand the business model -- sell the sex --er-- clothes -- to those raging hormones out there.

I'd just as well give them the blind eye, or the bewildered stare, but lately they've started attacking my nose. Have you smelled this?

Go to a mall now, I'll wait.

There, did you smell it? They've started dousing their A/C with whatever cologne they're selling. Or, I think it's cologne, it is perfume? It's this unisex heavy handed Calvin Klein type musk that's literally pouring out of the store. The mall I visit has it so bad that it has pretty much saturated the walkway outside the store for a good 30 steps.

Go now, go to a mall, and smell that store. WTF, m8?
posted by cavalier at 2:37 PM on February 4, 2008


jonmc,

I think I've seen you express something of the sort in relating to war-mongers and other topics as well. Namely that they can't get any skin, any love, any meaningful social connections and are projecting their jealousies. Can't tell if you're meaning them as jokes or not, but I think this is very insightful on why most of the sexually repressive demagogues, along with the average right-wing civilian bigot are the what they are.


actually, I was just trolling for boobie pix.
posted by jonmc at 2:41 PM on February 4, 2008


Publicity Stunt

Yeah, seems pretty obvious the manager (who is surely not so much of an idiot that he didn't contact corporate after the first warning) made the decision to leave the posters up. I'm sure corporate's legal team figured the "obscene" definition could be fought, the marketing team pointed out the obvious upside in rebel cred, and corporate told the manager they'd take care of him when he got charged.
posted by mediareport at 2:42 PM on February 4, 2008


I saw this on the back of a bus a few years back. For the first time, I saw the moralizers' point. Not because I object to the photo, but because, on the back of a bus in traffic, it was extremely distracting.

Ah, yes. I remember those ads.

And my father's quip: "Hey, look! They're advertising women! Where can we get some?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:32 PM on February 4, 2008


Police to drop Abercrombie & Fitch obscenity charge:

Deputy City Attorney Mark Stiles said the photos might technically meet the nudity portion of city code that makes it a crime to display "obscene materials in a business that is open to juveniles." But he said it would be difficult to meet the other standards of the law: that the display had to appeal to prurient interests, lack redeeming artistic merit and be offensive to prevailing community standards.

"You might see that typical vision walking down a street," Stiles said of the photo with the men...

Earlier Monday, Abercrombie & Fitch said police had overreacted and that it would pursue its legal rights aggressively. "The marketing images in question show less skin than you see any summer day at the beach. And certainly less than the plumber working on your kitchen sink," the New Albany, Ohio retailer said in a statement.

posted by mediareport at 4:19 PM on February 4, 2008


Well, at least it wasn’t a Shirtless - Kirk, ‘cause then, dude, it’s all over.
(on preview - shirt torn 1/2 off in duel with snarky commenters)
posted by Smedleyman at 4:20 PM on February 4, 2008


So, they admit how difficult it is to criminalise gay people. Now, it's gay-ish images they are going for.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:30 PM on February 4, 2008




Police to drop Abercrombie & Fitch obscenity charge

Were I benevolent dictator of the world, I'd punish the officer who seized the posters by making him display them prominently on the front lawn of his house.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:42 PM on February 4, 2008


And certainly less than the plumber working on your kitchen sink...

Plumber's Crack.
posted by ericb at 8:50 PM on February 4, 2008



LOLPOORITANS as google search returns only one page - this one. Went looking for a meme - came back with a herring...
posted by Jeremy at 10:19 PM on February 4, 2008


LOLPOORHERRINGFISHERMEN!
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:30 PM on February 4, 2008


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