March 27, 2015

VICTORY: American Apparel changes policies

What once was a business that exploited women in their ads and even in their corporate office, has now made huge strides to reform the culture of their brand. Today, we are happy to report that we instigated positive changed and progress for the controversial retailer, American Apparel. This is the result of efforts from many of our supporters in the movement who recognized sexual exploitation and took action. Thank you for helping with this great victory!


For years, many of our supporters asked that we go after American Apparel for their hypersexual and pornographic online ads. In the past, American Apparel regularly featured nude or provocatively posed young girls with an emphasis on breasts, buttocks, and pubic are. Advertisements like these do nothing but promote a culture of sexual exploitation and seek to normalize the attitude that women are mere sex objects.


We have long targeted American Apparel over their sexually explicit ads, but last year when their founder and CEO was exposed for sexually harassing and exploiting young female employees, we doubled down on our efforts. We worked to expose the pervasive culture of the company that fostered exploitation on all levels. Because of this, we added American Apparel as one of the twelve targets on the 2015 Dirty Dozen List of the top groups contributing and profiteering from sexual exploitation in the United States.


Thank American Apparel for changing policies that exploitWhen we notified the company of their coming inclusion on the Dirty Dozen List in January, their General Counsel called to alert us to the fact that they were in the midst of changing. They hired a new CEO, largely changed their Board of Directors and were trying to get their creative team on board with the changes too. We left them on the Dirty Dozen List because we wanted to hold them accountable and make sure they were in deed getting rid of their pornographic ads. We are happy to announce that they have instituted major changes!


They recently fired their creative director, Iris Alonzo, who was largely pushing to keep the policies that exploit women just to sell products. We also are encouraged that they have removed ads that depicted nudity or sexual acts from their website.


While many may argue that their advertisements still push the boundaries, we feel that this company no longer belongs on the Dirty Dozen List. We will continue to monitor their progress and hold them accountable.


Sexual exploitation has no place in society, especially in advertisements targeted at teenage girls.


This victory would not be possible without the thousands of individuals who contact American Apparel to demand change! THANK YOU for your support and help in our efforts to expose exploitation and defend dignity.



1. Thank the executives of American Apparel for implementing these changes to curb sexual exploitation as a means of profit.

2. Share news about this victory on your social media pages! Share this article or go to our main project page at and share that one.

3. Please consider a tax-deductible contribution to support critical efforts like these! Click here to donate online or mail a check to National Center on Sexual Exploitation, 1100 G Street NW #1030, Washington, DC 20005

Dawn Hawkins

Chief Executive Officer

Dawn Hawkins is CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the leading organization exposing the connections between all forms of sexual exploitation, including sex trafficking, prostitution, pornography, and child sexual abuse. Dawn’s energy, creativity and mobilization skills are deployed to build a world free from sexual violence, with freedom and human dignity for all.

Dawn is deeply committed to bipartisan political solutions at the federal and state level. Her issue expertise, visionary initiatives, and innovative strategy have led to groundbreaking change in the legislative arena and in multimillion-dollar corporate policies.

Dawn has been instrumental in re-imaging the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. She has centered the need to address buyer demand for commercial sex, called out corporate entities facilitating exploitation through the annual Dirty Dozen List, fostered an international movement, and constantly: advocates for survivors. Her work has sparked change at Google, Hilton Worldwide, Comcast, Walmart, the Department of Defense, Instagram, TikTok, and other influential firms. Dawn has appeared on many television programs, including CNN, Fox & Friends, and Good Morning America. She regularly authors articles and speaks around the country addressing the public health harms of pornography, curbing demand for sex trafficking, protecting children and families in our digital world, and more.

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