Abercrombie & Fitch Store Manager Cited for Obscenity

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The manager of an Abercrombie & Fitch outlet in Lynnhaven Mall was handed a citation for obscenity Saturday after police removed two large promotional posters from the store, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

Saying they were acting in response to citizen complaints, police claimed they took this measure only after the store's management failed to heed repeat warnings to remove the images.

The black-and-white pictures in question depicted, respectively, the backs of a group of shirtless young men running though a field with the one in front pulling up his slightly slipping jeans, and a topless woman with much of one breast exposed.

Of the latter, police spokesman Adam Bernstein said the model's "breast is displayed with her hand covering just the nipple portion. You could still pretty much see the rest of the breast."

Bernstein said the store manager, whose name has not been released, was charged with violating City Code Section 22.31, which outlaws "obscene materials in a business that is open to juveniles."

The seizure of the posters, Bernstein said, was "prompted by several customer complaints, and the management of Abercrombie & Fitch was notified of those complaints."

A summons for a Class One misdemeanor, the citation was issued to the store's manager because there is no way to legally issue a summons to a corporate entity in such circumstances, Bernstein said. The manager was not arrested, but could face a fine of up to $2,000 and as much as a year in jail if convicted.

Bernstein said the officer who patrols the mall met with store management last week and that while it was understood that displaying the posters was a corporate decision, that didn't exempt the store from complying with local city code.

Management was specifically told, "We want those advertising signs taken down," according to Bernstein.

The manager cited was reached by telephone by The Virginian-Pilot, but declined comment, saying he was conferring with and waiting for guidance from Abercrombie & Fitch corporate officials.