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

Senior Vice President and Executive Director

Dawn Hawkins is a passionate abolitionist and defender of human rights who has dedicated her life to fighting against societal harms that threaten the dignity of others. Her energy, creativity and mobilization skills have revived the anti-pornography movement and her intentional emphasis on the intersectionality of forms of sexual exploitation has proven a unique and effective strategy for curbing them.


As Sr. Vice President and Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), Mrs. Hawkins has developed a global strategy uniting more than 300 women’s rights, conservative, child advocacy, medical professionals, law enforcement, and religious groups, including a bipartisan political leadership, to work together in raising awareness of the connections between all forms of sexual exploitation. Her initiatives have lead to sweeping policy changes of policies that foster exploitation for targets such as Google, Hilton Worldwide, Comcast, Walmart, and the Department of Defense. Through her leadership, NCOSE has grown a network reaching hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. Mrs. Hawkins has appeared on many local and national 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.


Dawn regularly volunteers for organizations devoted to helping children and refugees. She is a graduate of Tufts University and currently resides with her husband and four children in Virginia.

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