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After last week’s rather vulgar post, I decided I was going to class it up a bit this time around with a thoroughly researched treatise on the socioeconomic ramifications of the identity spectrum created by the fashion industry through the cultural language of style.
But then I read about the masturbating Abercrombie model. Sorry, Four Pins Editors!
In case you were too busy planning your return to late night TV and haven’t read the Internet this week, let me recap this story for you first.
Abercrombie & Fitch employee Benjamine Bowers—who I’m assuming is also some sort of French aristocrat due to the otherwise superfluous "e" at the end of his name—was busy folding racist T-shirts at work one day, when an A&F casting director approached him with the number of a photographer. With visions of a lucrative modeling career dancing in his head, Bene flew down to Mississippi for some test shots. You know, as one does. Once there, the photographer goaded him into dropping trou and pleasuring himself in order to achieve the “relaxed” look that all Abercrombie models have. You know, as one also does. And then the photog also whipped out his dong to compare sizes. You know, as one also, aslo does.
Now, Bene thinks the photographer was only using the photos for “a cheap thrill” and is suing him and A&F for a cool million.
Okay. If our Second-Estate-refugee-cum-chain-retail-employee’s story is true, then the photographer clearly took advantage of Bene, and the A&F casting director, if not complicit, is definitely an idiot. It's worth nothing that when Terry Richardson faced similar accusations from female models, it was handled as much more of a serious scandal than the tongue in cheek tone of some of this lawsuit’s coverage. But having said that, there were a lot of warning signs that could have prevented this whole thing.
Shall we list them? Sure, let’s.
1.) Abercrombie & Fitch: Historically, just as pervy and despicable as Dov Charney and American Apparel, only without their equal-opportunity exploitation practices.
2.) Abercrombie casting directors: See above, and also every A&F Quarterly ever. Shout out to Bruce Weber.
3.) Flying to rural Mississippi for a test shoot: You know when you should fly to the rural South? When you’re a wise-cracking Italian-American attorney from Brooklyn and your cousin has been falsely accused of murder, so you and Marisa Tomei have to go defend him. Otherwise, steer clear.
4.) The post-ejaculation look of “relaxation”: Almost positive this concept is a fallacy, unless by “relaxation” you actually mean “guilt-tinged narcolepsy and internal conversations with God.”
5.) Side by side wang comparisons: Who does this guy think he is, a seventh grade gym teacher?
I feel for Benjamine (feel for him, not feel him, relax, dude) and I hope he wins his lawsuit, since A&F seems like a horrible company. But until then, let his story serve as a cautionary tale. If you really want to make it as a model, you don’t have to travel to some far off place and do things like that for a photographer! You just have to sleep with him. And I’m pretty sure you can do that right in your hometown.
Steve Dool is a writer based in New York City. Follow him on Twitter.