On Friday everyone had a good chuckle at all of the funny April Fool’s gags of various brands around the world, but there was one brand that pulled attention for all the wrong reasons.
In the middle of the April Fool’s fire was clothing retailer Aerie, famous for using plus-sized beauty Barbie Ferreira and being all-round supporters of body positivity.
But instead, on April 1 the brand launched a new campaign called #AerieMAN, which featured four diverse men with the tagline “the real you is sexy”. This was their April Fool’s ‘joke’, what the retailer called a “parody” of Aerie’s own #AerieReal campaign.
— American Eagle (@AEO) April 1, 2016
American Eagle Outfitters, Aerie’s parent company, issued a press release on Friday announcing that the hoax was launched to raise awareness about body diversity.
“American Eagle Outfitters proves once again they’re not afraid to take a risk and have a laugh in support of a good cause,” it read, announcing its pledge to “forego retouching its male models in its underwear and swim images beginning Holiday 2016”.
They even released a series of videos to accompany the mock campaign.
And while American Eagle might have thought this would be a humorous approach on a serious issue, the internet was less than amused, and Twitter, as always, was merciless.
“Omg you know what would be funny? Making a fake campaign to mock body positivity for men! Super *~edgy~*!”
— Steph (@WriteOnSteph) April 1, 2016
Imagine if they had done a fake body positivity thing about women….people would be PISSED. https://t.co/v0zWaSzjlG
— Brian Particelli (@BrianTooFab) April 1, 2016
— Sean Mandell (@SeanMandell) April 1, 2016
@AEO male body acceptance is no laughing matter, especially because the issue already has little visibility. Your “joke” diluted it further
— Ianterstellar Darko (@movienerd15) April 1, 2016
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