“Fitch the Homeless” Is Backwards-Ass Activism
May 16 2013
I’m sure by now you’ve seen that video that Los Angeles-based writer Greg Karber made where he hands out a buch of Abercrombie gear to homeless people. It’s embedded above if you haven't.
Karber made the video in response to that stuff that Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries said about their “no women’s clothing above a size 10” policy. Essentially, Jefferies only wants “thin and beautiful people” shopping at his stores, because he doesn’t want the “cool kids” to have to endure the horror of seeing a fat person wearing the same outfit as them. I think we can all agree that the most shocking part of Mike’s statements is that they reveal there’s a person out there who thinks that the cool kids are wearing Abercrombie.
Karber handed out A&F clothing to, as far as I can tell from the video, a fairly bewildered homeless population on Los Angeles’s Skid Row. His goal was to “rebrand” Abercrombie & Fitch by putting their clothing not on the cool kids that Mike Jeffries so loves, but on the homeless, who, I guess, are the opposite of cool.
Now, if you only think about it for a few seconds, it would appear that this is a great campaign. Karber wanted to make a point about Abercrombie & Fitch and to “clothe the homeless,” in his words, while doing it. Unfortunately, “Fitch the Homeless,” as Karber dubbed his campaign, is fucking stupid. For one thing, Karber doesn't appear to ask these people if they want Abercrombie & Fitch clothing, or if he did ask them, he cut those parts from the video for some reason. He just sort of dumps polo shirts and A&F brand tees onto the residents of Skid Row, as if they were pack mules and he were a sherpa venturing into the mountains to deliver striped rugby shirts to a monastery.
Perhaps Karber realized that homeless people make great props for your viral video. You can dress them up any way you want, bribe them with free stuff, and the worst that can happen is maybe they bite you, but they don’t brush their teeth, so it’s doubtful they’d break skin. It’s just too damn easy to use a homeless person to elicit sympathy from gullible viewers, so why not? We have no idea if these individuals are even in need of clothing, or if the clothes given to them would fit, and yet that is hardly the reason this video exists. It’s a prank that uses the most abundant scenery in Los Angeles, which is dirty people. Also, Karber himself says several times that Abercrombie & Fitch clothing looks “douchey,” which it does. By his own logic, why would the homeless want it?
The “Fitch the Homeless” campaign centers on the idea that homeless people are dirty or gross: the anticool kids. Karber’s thesis seems to be “Mike Jeffries would be so mad if homeless people wore Abercrombie & Fitch, because the homeless are lowly and disgusting. This’ll show that crusty old CEO!”
Karber’s video has gone viral, receiving over 2 million views in just two days. He’s already appeared on several talk shows. On Twitter, the hashtag #FitchTheHomeless is thriving. That’s because at the end of Karber’s video, he called for others to raid their closets and give all their Abercrombie & Fitch clothes to the homeless, as he had done. Many people have tweeted about what a good idea this is, how this really sticks it to Abercrombie & Fitch and helps the homeless in the process, so it may be too late to say this, but please don’t “Fitch the Homeless.” This is all just some cheeseball stunt perpetrated by a guy who really wants attention and saw an opportunity to get it. Yes, it seems clever, but making fart noises with your armpits in seventh grade seemed clever, too.
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