Netflix Documentary ‘White Hot’ Exposes Toxic Work Environment at Abercrombie & Fitch
The 2000s were a wild time. You had the reality show boom, the surge of technology, and the mall was the place to be on the weekends. On any given Saturday night, you could find flocks of teenagers buzzing around with their flip phones and flip flops. Chances are, they were hitting up one store in particular: Abercrombie & Fitch.
Netflix took a deep dive into Abercrombie & Fitch, and things got pretty dark when it came to the business and how it was run. It's called 'White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch'. It has the nostalgia and the truth behind one of the biggest companies of the 2000s.
The documentary follows the explosion of the store and the quicker than ever downfall. Racial bias, sex discrimination, and their sketchy hiring practices are explored in this documentary I couldn't wait to watch.
I was a pre-teen in the 00s, and as any young girl, I wanted to follow trends and have the hottest clothes and brands. Hollister, Abercrombie, and Aeropostale were all the rage. If you didn't own clothes from these stores, you weren't "keeping up". Abercrombie & Fitch intimidated the hell out of me, even as a kid. Their sizing, the dirty looks I got walking around, and the actual store environment gave me anxiety.
Well, turns out I was right in feeling this way after watching 'White Hot'.
The documentary interviews former employees within the company, and their accounts of racism towards themselves and customers. In fact, Abercrombie & Fitch settled a court case involving claims of race and sex discrimination in 2004, and the Supreme Court brought a 2015 case back to life involving the company and a Muslim after A&F refused them employment because they wore a headscarf.
The main consensus of what I'm seeing on the internet after doing my research about this documentary is that the documentary is just telling a story of what everyone knew about the company: racism and discrimination based on looks were widely known among everyone who had been in the store to shop there.
'White Hot' basically confirms it all these years later with former employees (most of who are involved in that lawsuit I mentioned earlier) speaking out on their experiences with Abercrombie & Fitch.
Abercrombie & Fitch has had a recent resurgence in the last year online. They're being more inclusive with their sizes and are attempting to diversify their models, but is it enough to make everyone forget their past issues? The internet has a way of either making everyone forget, or everyone remember.
After watching this documentary, and remembering my own experiences with the company...I don't think I'll be shopping with them any time soon.