Lands’ End found itself caught up in a war between pro-life activists and abortionists after publishing and then retracting an interview with Gloria Steinem, a pro-abortion feminist, in its clothing catalog.
Pro-life activists and conservatives quickly voiced their displeasure over the feature, criticizing the family-friendly company for giving a pro-choice feminist a platform. Some Christian schools that recommend the clothing company for required uniforms threatened to cut ties and others threatened boycotts.
The catalog features “radical pro-abortion feminist Gloria Steinem,” a pro-life Christian nonprofit called The Radiance Foundation said in a Facebook post. “Steinem … has been dedicated to pushing abortion-on-demand, with zero restrictions.”
In response to the outrage, Lands’ End quickly retracted the article, which it had described as an effort to highlight people “who have made a difference in both their respective industries and the world at large.”
“We understand that some of our customers were offended by the inclusion of an interview in a recent catalog with Gloria Steinem on her quest for women’s equality,” Lands’ End said in the statement announcing the retraction. “We thought it was a good idea and we heard from our customers that, for different reasons, it wasn’t.”
In a Facebook post explaining its decision, Lands’ End added: “It was never our intention to raise a divisive political or religious issue, so when some of our customers saw the recent promotion that way, we heard them. We sincerely apologize for any offense.”
But the retraction immediately drew a new backlash from pro-choice groups and feminists angered by their capitulation to pro-life activists and conservatives. More than 8,000 people have signed an online petition declaring the apology offensive and a “disgrace” to its customers and to Steinem.
“Lands’ End: Gloria Steinem is an Icon, and Your Apology Offends me,” the petition is titled.
One of the petitioners wrote in an emailed statement: “I am a faithful Lands’ End customer. Not anymore. Gloria Steinem has made a huge difference in the world, whether you agree with all of her positions or not. Why bend to such mean-spirited pressure?”
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