Dear Mr. Schottenstein,
I have been a loyal American Eagle customer for many years. When I recently had a baby and needed a whole new wardrobe in my new size, who did I turn to but the store I had worked at as a teenager. I recently started a fashion blog and have been featuring many pieces from the AEO collection. I've been tagging you on Instagram and linking you on my blog.
However, on Friday, January 20, I was saddened to see a post from AEO on Instagram supporting the Women's March as part of your "We all can" campaign. I believe in free speech and the right to a peaceful protest. However, when a retail company supports a particular political affiliation or belief set, I have to start examining my connection to and promotion of that brand.
As a concerned customer, I reached out on Instagram, on Facebook, and through email. I also called your corporate office and spoke with Lisa at the corporate customer contact team. She indicated that she is a supervisor. I shared my concerns with her. She blew them off throughout the conversation and did not ask for my name or contact information. I felt like my concerns were not addressed, they were not acknowledged, and they certainly were not recorded. I finally asked her to take my name and information and she did so begrudgingly but I do not have high hopes that they made it far. During the course of that conversation, I asked her if AEO would be covering the March this Friday, January 27 as well since it is also an example of women standing up for what they believe in. She said, she did not believe that it met with the "equal rights values of American Eagle." She then went on to explain she was not giving her personal opinion during our conversation but she's not allowed to speak for the company.
The women's march has stated on their website and in news articles that they are based on a pro-choice platform. They went so far as to exclude pro-life groups from sponsoring the march. And, then when one group decided to march with them in solidarity of womanhood, that group was heckled and disrespected. Please explain to me how this is an example of equality. Is this what we should teach the next generation to strive for? To exclude people from participating in a march labeled as all inclusive because their political or moral standings are different. Is that a bright example of the values of equality and inclusivity? Is this what American Eagle stands for?
I have reached out to several individuals within American Eagle because I will be writing an article (and have reached out to several news outlets who have shown interest in publishing it) about American Eagle's "We all can" campaign. I am hoping that I will be able to get a statement from someone to explain what equality means to your company. And, what it means when your consumers represent the American Eagle brand.
I appreciate your response and am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter.