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Christian band asks to end Abercrombie & Fitch ties

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A popular Christian rock band whose partnership with Abercrombie & Fitch caused consternation among conservative family values groups has asked the clothing retailer to end their relationship.

Relient K, a Christian rock band promoted by Gotee Records, has asked the controversial retail store to pull their music from in-store music videos as well as the Abercrombie & Fitch website, according to Gotee President Joey Elwood.

Elwood told AgapePress that company officials have not yet decided if they will be able to remove Relient K’s music from its stores. As of Nov. 5, the music was prominently displayed on the company’s web pages.

Billed as a “first-ever exclusive partnership with a band,” Abercrombie & Fitch launched a massive multimedia campaign with Relient K on Nov. 2.

However, Bill Johnson, president of American Decency Association, and a vocal critic of Abercrombie & Fitch, said Relient K was making a mistake.

“I am very disappointed and very troubled that a Christian band or any group of people that are naming the name of Jesus Christ in their music and ministry would in any regard feel comfortable aligning themselves with a corporation so blatant in targeting our youth through sexually erotic images,” Johnson told Baptist Press. “It is very troubling to me. I for one will be urging people not to purchase their records. They have made a serious error.”

In addition to the ADA, representatives of Focus on the Family and Concerned Woman for America also were critical of the band’s decision to partner with Abercrombie & Fitch.

Abercrombie & Fitch is known for its controversial advertising campaigns and clothing catalogs that feature barely clad models in suggestive poses. The apparel retailer recently announced it canceled the holiday version of its catalog because company executives deemed the content and tone inappropriate in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The catalog will resume publication in January.

Elwood said the culture of the clothing retailer, referring to pornographic images in the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog, is “not something we condone.”

“I felt like the line we were drawing was consistent with what we had been doing for years, and that we were entering into a domain that we couldn’t control — a secular domain — in order to offer a choice to consumers,” Elwood told AgapePress. “But I and my partner and the band are walking in faith that there’s a larger work at hand here that these other organizations are trying to accomplish — and we do not want to get in the way of that.”

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  • Todd Starnes