Bath Towel's Imagery Causes Controversy

Towels featuring images of nearly nude men on display at American Apparel stores around the country

By Alexandria Fisher
|  Friday, Jun 15, 2012  |  Updated 9:11 AM CDT
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American Apparel and BUTT Magazine Towel

Alexandria Fisher

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A lack of apparel in a storefront display is butting its way into the sights of State Street walkers and offending many.

A towel line at American Apparel, just another in the long line of provocative ads the company has released, features images of nearly nude men and is being displayed in store windows across the country, including Chicago's State Street.

The towel line includes two with men wearing bottoms, one with a side shot of a man's butt and one with a full frontal image. They were released in 2010 to display the company's stance on gay rights. The frontal showcase is back.

"With many of our employees and customers identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered, we are a company that is vocal about our support for the protection and advancement of gay rights," reads a statement on the company's website.

But some pedestrians aren't as proud of the display.

"I’m all for art and pushing the limits, but what if I had a child and I didn’t want them to see that? I don’t think it should be displayed right on State Street," said Chicago resident Colleen Favuzzo.

The controversial towel, branded by the self-proclaimed LGBT editorial BUTT Magazine and featuring magazine "buttheads," can be seen hanging in the store windows of American Apparel on State Street with a mannequin covering the model's nether regions and shocking passersby.

"They’re not like X-rated," said store employee Sofia Kerban. "It’s just a human body. It’s nothing anyone hasn’t seen before."

The bright pink towel with the black image of the man, covering part of his private parts with his hand and the word “BUTT” in the corner are being sold for $45 in American Apparel stores and on their website.

A portion of sales will be donated to the Ali Forney Center, an NYC organization providing housing and services to LGBTQ youth.

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