The Lane Bryant controversy is becoming a plus-size headache for a pair of U.S. TV networks after both sides amped up their war of words over the alleged censorship of a recent LB ad.
ABC issued a statement yesterday accusing the full-figure fashion label of fabricating a publicity stunt and, basically, lying about the issue.
In case you were unconscious yesterday, LB stirred up a hornet’s nest after complaining that both FOX and ABC imposed restrictions on a new Lane Bryant commercial featuring a plus-sized model wearing the company’s sexy new Cacique product line.
LB claims the networks refused to show the ad during prime time, and required content edits to tone down the cleavage … something the company says is discrimination against full-figured women.
Not so, say the networks.
“Their statements are not true,” ABC said in a press release. “We were willing to accommodate them but they chose to seek publicity instead.”
Lane Bryant fired back almost immediately, releasing an April 9 memo from ABC instructing affiliates not to run the LB ad during network shows starting at 9 p.m. Zing!
Lane Bryant had wanted to launch their new lingerie line during ABC’s Dancing With The Stars and, after complaining about the prime-time restriction, ABC allowed the spot to run in the final minutes of the show.
“There was absolutely no rationale for us to be relegated to the back of the bus, when our ads were no more risqué than those of Victoria Secret. The only difference is the size of our models,” the company said.
FOX, meanwhile, said it treated the ad no differently than other fashion ads, and will allow it to run during next Wednesday’s American Idol.
But a Lane Bryant insider said FOX originally demanded heavy edits to the ad and only agreed to run it because a Victoria’s Secret spot ran during this week’s Idol.
So who do you think is lying here?
Admittedly, Lane Bryant scored the publicity coup of the year over the controversy. But it’s hard to imagine they or any other fashion retailer would launch such a public assault on the Disney (which owns ABC) or FOX empires – just to sell a few bras. You don’t go into that kind of battle in your skivvies, if you know what I mean.
The networks, however, have a LOT to lose by offending a significant part of their audience – and it appears they’ve been caught with their pants down (don’t you love puns?) on this one. Anyway, you be the judge.
If you want to see what real women think about the whole business, just check out comments from visitors to the LB website. It’s clear they’ve truly struck a nerve with outraged consumers across the country – and probably sold a few bras too.
Personally, I’ll believe the networks are as innocent as they claim when FOX lets Marge Simpson put on a few pounds and ABC agrees to a Roseanne reunion.