American Apparel 'Thong Bodysuit' Advert Banned For Showing Young Girl Baring Her Buttocks

An American Apparel advert has been banned for sexualising a child, after a complaint that an ad for a 'thong bodysuit' showed a girl baring her buttocks who looked underage.

The girl model - who the one complainant said looked under 16 years old - appeared in a website ad for the clothing company's 'lips print cotton spandex sleeveless thong bodysuit'.

The "sexualised" picture is the latest in a long line of American Apparel adverts which have caused controversy, and comes six months after two of its ads were banned for sexualising schoolgirls.

A complaint said the "sexualised" girl looked under 16 years old

The bodysuit model was shown looking back at the camera over her shoulder, wearing the outfit which had a 'thong' as its lower half.

The person who complained said the advert was irresponsible and offensive for showing a sexualised image of what appeared to be a child.

The advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority, said: "A female model was featured in four images wearing the advertised product. One of the images showed her from the back with her buttocks visible."

But American Apparel hit back, saying the model was 20 years old, and that that it didn't think she looked under the age of consent.

American Apparel's UK arm said the buttocks picture was just one of four different shots of the girl in the bodysuit, and that the web page "depicted the advertised product from various angles." It added that "the image was consistent with standards contained in similar ads."

But the ASA said the ad must be removed, deciding it breached the advertising codes around "social responsibility" and "harm and offence."

The watchdog said the ad (cropped here) was "offensive"

It said in its ruling: "We considered the model had a youthful appearance and that some consumers were likely to regard her as being younger than 16 years of age.

"We considered that readers were likely to interpret the model's expression and pose as being sexual in nature. In conjunction with the youthful appearance of the model, we considered the ad could be seen to sexualise a child. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and was likely to cause serious offence."

American Apparel has become well-known for its provocative adverts, which have been frequently banned and criticised for creating suggestive undertones with young-looking women.

Last year an ad for its "back to school" range was banned for potentially normalising "predatory sexual behaviour" by using images taken up the skirts of a models wearing what looked like school uniform.

In 2013, two more racy American Apparel ads were also banned. They showed a model's lower half in thigh-high socks and a leotard, and another model wearing nothing but an oversized sweater, with her legs in the air. One person who complained said the models "appeared vulnerable" due to their skin-baring poses.

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