The Abercrombie & Fitch fake racial epithet scandal

So it seems that someone has created an Abercrombie & Fitch bootleg website. This is not an uncommon phenomenon. Websites selling counterfeit goods often create almost-like-the-original websites to sell their knock-off products. In this case, it was a site called abercrombie-and-fitchoutlet.com (the site has since been closed down). 

Yes, it is illegal to sell counterfeit goods, and to mis-represent yourself as another brand, but we have all seen this before from (mostly) China-based companies.

What caught everyone’s attention (including Abercrombie & Fitch) was one specific product being sold on the bootleg site. In fact, it was one specific pair of jeans in one specific color. A shade of “nigger brown,” specifically.

Once the product was discovered, word spread like wildfire over the Internet, without many people realizing the dubious, probably bootleg nature of the website, but many still believed A&F was to blame. Abercrombie has been known for outrageous, salacious, scandalizing behavior in the past (mostly as an attention-getting device), so it was not beyond the pale of reason that these pants were legit.

It turns out that the racial epithet on the pants' product description may have been the result of a bad Chinese translation program. A program by Kingsoft (circa 2007) translated the Chinese term for "dark brown" into “nigger brown.” We wonder if the site was using a bootleg copy of the software, that through the whole thing into hyper-scandal.

So, it appears the lessons learned are 1). Abercrombie needs to watch for bootleg sites more carefully, and shut them down; 2). Consumers need to know the difference between real and fake products 3). It is great that we are highly intolerable of racist epithets and 4). If you are a Chinese bootleg retailer, update your translation software, and don’t buy it on the black market.

 

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