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American Apparel makes major social media flop

American Apparel Makes Major Social Media Flop

American Apparel has apologized after making a major social media flop.

On Independence day, the clothing retailer posted an artsy photo of the Challenger shuttle disaster and tagged it #smoke and #clouds . (Via Tumblr / American Apparel)

The Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart in 1986 just seconds into its flight, killing the seven crew members aboard. (Via CNN)

In under an hour, the company had taken down the photo and posted to their Twitter page, "We deeply apologize for today's Tumblr post of the Space Shuttle Challenger. The image was re-blogged in error by one of our international social media employees who was born after the tragedy and was unaware of the event."

The situation quickly made headlines with many news outlets questioning the company's decision to blame a young, international employee.

Boston.com wrote, "You can't blame the young for the things that happened before they were born. And you can't really blame them for not knowing stuff you remember. ... But it's pretty safe to assume teenagers know about some of America's biggest tragedies."

Business Insider pointed out that the company has "American" in its name and advertises that its clothes are made in the USA, but still went ahead and blamed the scandal on the international employee it hired.

While this Twitter user posted, "I don't know which reflects more poorly on your brand: the goofball who made the post or this lame explanation."

American Apparel's communications department has angered the public before. Remember the Hurricane Sandy Sale?

Mashable points out as Sandy battered the east coast in 2012, the company sent out an email offering 20% off to customers in the affected region, urging them to spend their time indoors shopping on its website "in case you're bored during the storm."

A Forbes reporter wrote at the time, "How in the name of common sense can you send an email like this out during such a tragic situation where oh by the way, people lost their lives?"

This latest fiasco comes at a rough time for American Apparel. Just last month the company's board moved to fire founder Dov Charney after allegations of his sexual misconduct with employees. Charney says the relationships were mutual and he will fight the firing.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
david July 06 2014 at 11:46 AM

Actually this is indicative of a wider problem within the education system. While you cannot expect everyone to know everything this was a pretty big deal and really not that long ago.

Watch the different clips from Jay Leno's Jaywalking, Jessie Watters and others where people are asked fairly general questions and they have no idea of the answer. The number of people who are supposedly educated who have no idea who we declared independence from, who we fought in WWII , who George Washington was besides the guy on the $1. Not a real surprise that the country is in decline and people do not know why we should be considered an exceptional nation. Even events that have been major turning points in American history that have taken place in the last 20 years or so are lost on many. If you don't know what happened before and where we have come from and the struggles and sacrifices made,, then you just assume it has always been this way and that leads to an entitlement mentality we have Now

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4 replies
elpmlp July 06 2014 at 2:18 PM

These are examples when someone relies on a young person to run the show...without a review by someone older and more likely wiser. Two heads are better than one, especially a more mature one.

AOL you could learn from this too. As others have pointed out "AA" is more likely interpreted to mean Alcoholics Anonymous than American Apparel.

This new format of comments on the sideline...well that is a mistake. Too.

It is more difficult to read and comprehend. Change is good only if it improves something or someone.

This is NOT a good change!

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1 reply
onemadashell elpmlp July 06 2014 at 3:42 PM

if this comments on the side is so good why isn't huffnpuff doing it?

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S321Saint July 06 2014 at 1:52 PM

NO EXCUSE. PERIOD. It doesnt matter whether that person was born after the Challenger disaster. I find it personally offensive that many people of that age have not been taught about America correctly. I find it personally offensive that people that age basically dont CARE to learn. They think its "ancient history"..and WWII? phew...thats pre civilization right?

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2 replies
Susan S321Saint July 06 2014 at 4:56 PM

Gotta blame the education system ushered in by the Reagan area. It was the beginning of the purposeful dumbing down of America. Even those born here to American families now don't have basic knowledge of grammar, communication skills, reading, basic math, science or history.

Parents are a big part of the problem. They have raised and continue to raise generations of 'little preciouses' who feel entitled and will do nothing to earn a thing in their lives.

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1 reply
floatgod Susan July 06 2014 at 8:30 PM

Looks like you are one of idiots that came out of the "Reagan" mold of education.

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Happypoolprune S321Saint July 06 2014 at 6:03 PM

They blamed that person so the company didn't have to admit culpability for it's ignorance or lack of supervision.

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ram4131 July 06 2014 at 12:09 PM

If I owned a big company, there would be me and damn few others authorized to post ANYTHING representative of my brand.

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1 reply
gogators1980 ram4131 July 06 2014 at 7:10 PM

AA's explanation was pretty much what I figured happened before I even finished the whole story. I figured youth was going to factor into this equation. I just didn't think it was also going to be put upon a foreigner also.

But getting back to blaming it on youth. I'm not sure if they still teach kids anything about older or recent history in school these days, but in today's electronic age anything older than 30 minutes is ancient history to kids today.

So frankly speaking, I'm not sure if kids today are stupid or just plain ignorant. I don't know, and I just don't care!

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Gary H Mayer July 06 2014 at 12:50 PM

The 'major mistake' is the headline, which uses 'AA.' Most people automatically think Alcoholics Anonymous made a mistake. American Apparel is not a household name. In fact, I never heard of the company. Not everything revolves around the east coast. Alcoholics Anonymous is known by anyone in the world, unless they emerged from under a rock.

These websites use part-time reporters over the weekend, similar to broadcasting companies. Some have a promising career ahead of them and some fade into oblivion.

AOL would really get flack if they used NAACP in the headline when the company is 'National Acne Aversion Cosmetics Products.'

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7 replies
Susan July 06 2014 at 4:46 PM

Their excuse that the person was born after the event is absolutely bogus. I was born after Pearl Harbor, the Civil War, the Spanish American war, Amelia Earhart, the Lindberg baby's kidnapping, after slavery, after WWI, after the sinking of the Titanic, after the Revolutionary War, after many other events in history and guess what? I know all about them.

It's a poor excuse and it is indicative of the decline in our education system and the lack of interest by parents and teachers that our children be EDUCATED. They give trophies for participating and excellence is not encouraged. Heck even educational growth is not encouraged.

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1 reply
nyhuguenot Susan July 06 2014 at 11:55 PM

It's more than the education system. There is a general lack of curiosity about anything any more. It's not that hard to read a historic novel or anything even if it's not online. Onlike activity centers on yakking and texting has led some to be unable to write an intelligible sentence much less a paragraph. What happened to the idea of researching a subject before posting an article?

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Scooter July 06 2014 at 11:58 AM

just like so many other companies out there...who the hell is in charge???

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1 reply
we3behappy1s Scooter July 06 2014 at 12:32 PM

Yes, it does seem strange there was not a supervising editor who viewed the photo first before it was posted.

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Mike July 06 2014 at 11:38 AM

I suspect that many companies do things like this intentionally to keep their name out there.

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Susan July 06 2014 at 4:26 PM

This company touts that their stuff is made in 'Downtown LA' yet their employees work in sweatshop conditions and most are illegals. I'm all for those coming to this country and prospering, but when a company takes advantage of their illegal status, the company is now holding an unspoken threat over the heads of employees.

The filthy ex-CEO was known for his disgusting behavior towards all women and this company has massive bad ju-ju thanks to him.

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2 replies
coopdabomb Susan July 06 2014 at 5:32 PM

Stop whining libby

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skidrowtom Susan July 06 2014 at 6:46 PM

Downtown L.A......third world country, what's the difference?

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Amanda July 06 2014 at 2:01 PM

Well, Beyonce used actual communications audio from the Challenger disaster is a song on her last album - a song that was about a bad relationship. When confronted about how inappropriate and insensitive it was, she made a non-apology about how it was meant to honor the victims and be like a tribute. Are people still buying her albums and making her concerts sell out? You bet.

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1 reply
Amanda Amanda July 06 2014 at 2:01 PM

sorry, in* a song

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aol~~ 1209600


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