Abercrombie & Fitch Fires Gay Plus-Size Model After Racist Comments Surface

Wednesday March 25, 2020

Abercrombie & Fitch fired a newly-hired gay plus-size model after comments he made online in the past recently resurfaced on social media and deemed racist.

Michael McCauley, who is openly gay and calls himself "America's favorite [bear] model," came under fire for calling Black Lives Matter "extremists" and poking fun at the Academy Awards effort to combat #OscarsSoWhite.

Abercrombie & Fitch hired McCauley, who has appeared in ads for Target and Sling, last month for the company's "Face Your Fierce" fragrance campaign, which celebrates "body positivity, self-empowerment, determination, LGBT+ equality gender quality, overcoming obstacles and more." He appeared in ads alongside out soccer star Megan Rapione and Gus Kenworthy.

McCauley gave an interview with Queerty on March 14 about his part in A&F's campaign and the importance of diverse representation. Not long after that, however, a number of comments he made online in the past began to resurface on social media. See one of the posts in question below.

On Monday, A&F gave a statement to Queerty, announcing they have dropped McCauley:

A&F has worked hard over the last few years, particularly under new leadership, to improve and be more inclusive with everything we do, including our marketing, our size ranges, our charitable partners, our store experiences and our hiring practices. A&F's Face Your Fierce campaign was created to help promote diversity, equity and inclusion, and the comments made by Mike McCauley clearly do not support that goal. They also contradict the values of our company, our associates and our customers. As such, we are no longer working with him.

The model has since responded to the controversy on social media, apologizing for his comments.

"I want to address the comments that were recently brought to light from several years ago," McCauley wrote. "They were not intended to be hurtful. I realize how insensitive they are and I'm really sorry for the harm they've caused. Thank you, Mike."

He also uploaded a video addressing the situation.

"I really hope you guys can see past these comments and know I'm doing my part to make this right," he said. "I'm reaching out to my local Black Lives Matter chapter here in L.A. and I'm going to make sure I am educated as much as I possibly can on everything their movement is about, and if there is any way I can make this right and apologize directly to them, and potentially use my platform to make sure that other people don't think this kind of language is O.K."

Watch the video below.