American Apparel Ruins Sesame Street’s Birthday

Published: October 23, 2009
Categories: Commentary

Earlier this month, Sesame Workshop announced that they are entering a deal with American Apparel to produce four new t-shirt designs featuring Sesame Street characters to help celebrate the show’s 40th anniversary.

Did the folks at Sesame Workshop forget to Google American Apparel? Because this is a terrible, terrible idea.

Take five seconds and do a Google Image search for “American Apparel” (but only when your boss isn’t lurking about). You’ll see advertisements with pictures of young girls with their legs spread wide, without tops on, showing an unnecessary amount of skin, and otherwise bearing their assets. Some of these girls are professional porn stars, and some of these girls look like they’re spread eagle on the floor of a dirty warehouse. Now picture those same girls modeling Sesame Street shirts. That doesn’t seem like the sort of image we normally see in an ad for a Big Bird tee.

Behind the scenes, things aren’t so much better. American Apparel CEO Dov Charney has been accused more than a few times of sexual harassment, and has proven to be quite a sleazeball outside of the office as well. They’ve had their fair share of scandals, which should have raised a red flag or two to Sesame.

But beyond the pornographic advertising and disgusting CEO, we’re still just talking about t-shirts, right? Maybe if the shirts are pretty, we can overlook the name on the label and enjoy our Sesame Street merch. Sadly, the illustrations don’t quite chalk up to the Sesame shirts we’ve enjoyed over the years. Simple line-drawings that look more like fan art drawn by a kid in junior high (no offense to all you 12-year-old fan artists out there!) don’t seem like something that would either benefit a worldwide company like American Apparel or do Sesame Street’s 40th anniversary justice.

The worst of the bunch, however, is the image at the top of this article. Though I’ve obscured the naughty bits, the pantsless girl in question is most likely going commando. The image, which was grabbed straight from American Apparel’s website, actually blurred out the crotch (poorly, I might add), presumably because their model was dressed a little bit too casual. I guess nobody told her that she’s modeling a shirt with images of preschool characters.

So in short, Sesame Workshop needs to screen their licensing partners a little better, and possibly find one that would be a bit more appropriate. I recommend something a little less porny.
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Written by Joe Hennes

Co-owner and Editor-in-Chief.
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