Surprise! American Apparel found itself in advertising-related hot water again—but this time, the clothing retailer doesn't seem to be at the root of the controversy.
Shortly after it was reported that the company's most recent ad was banned in the U.K., an email from a modeling agency casting for American Apparel was leaked, and it immediately began making the Internet rounds due to its shocking content.
"Company is going through a rebranding image so will be shooting models moving forward. Real models. Not Instagram hoes or thots," the email, which was reportedly sent by PhotoGenics, the company hired to cast the models, read (in case you're not up to date on today's lingo, THOT stands for 'that hoe over there').
Animal NewYork initially leaked the email after an employee at the L.A.-based modeling agency forwarded a copy, and according to the site, PhotoGenics Agency Director Phira Luon has since taken full responsibility for the email's contents.
"The casting email and its contents were intended for a handful of models that would be attending the casting. As with all internal company emails, it contained information that may be confidential and protected by the attorney-client and may constitute non-public information," Luon told the site. "It was intended to be conveyed only to the designated recipients in that email. Any use, dissemination, distribution, or reproduction of the message by unintended recipients is not authorized and may be unlawful."
Luon added: "The comment made at the end was made in jest with models whom I have a personal relationship with and did not reflect the views, or directives by the client. I apologize to all those who were offended or affected by my comments, as it was not my intention."
Meaning, apparently, that American Apparel didn't provide those specs themselves.
Asked about the unfortunate casting email, American Apparel's senior VP of marketing, Cynthia Verland, told E! News Tuesday: "We are looking for real, diverse models of all shapes and sizes that look great in our clothes. This is a core part of our brand DNA."
The backlash comes just one month after American Apparel's new CEO Paula Schneider—who took over after Dov Charney was ousted from the company following an internal investigation into his alleged misconduct—said that the controversial brand is aiming to be less sexual.
READ: American Apparel mannequins have pubic hair to celebrate "natural beauty"We are looking for real, diverse models of all shapes and sizes that look great in our clothes. This is a core part of our brand DNA."
"It doesn't have to be overtly sexual," Schneider told Business of Fashion. "There's a way to tell our story where it's not offensive. It is an edgy brand. And it will continue to be an edgy brand."
In the past, American Apparel has come under fire for a number of ads, some of which have been criticized for their overt sexualization of women.
"It has to be a little sexy," Schneider explained to the publication. "We sell lingerie. We sell hosiery. You just make sure we aren't crossing the line. It should be about empowering women, empowering people."