Lands' End Customers Furiously React to Free Copies of Risqué GQ


Fans of Lands’ End polos, fleeces and monogrammed backpacks have spent the past several days railing against the company for sending them a free copy of the July issue of GQ along with the clothing company’s recent catalog. You know, that issue of GQ with model Emily Ratajkowski of “Blurred Lines” fame on the cover.

According to the New York Times, the free GQ was part of a promotion partnership with Condé Nast that Lands’ End has done before. The only difference is that the magazines previously sent along with the catalog have been less scandalous women’s magazines, like Self, Vogue or Glamour.

Many parents on the Lands’ End Facebook page are particularly aghast not only because of the fear that their children could have seen it, but because they buy school uniforms via the catalog as well:

We received your “Land’s End Bonus” of GQ magazine this weekend, and we are absolutely horrified. How can buying something as family friendly as school uniforms lead to soft porn in the mailbox? I’m thankful my son did not bring in the mail.
I try hard to protect my children from the devastating influences of pornography, and when my six year old daughter brought in the mail that day I was shocked by what she was holding in her hands. I’m grateful my nine year old son was not exposed to this as well.
I have 8 wonderful and innocent little grandchildren for whom I purchase ALOT of Lands End clothing, not to mention what I buy for myself. If one of them had seen that piece of trash in my mailbox that came courtesy of Lands End, how would I explain the labels on their clothes? My second angry thought was that my husband was buying this ‘media’ trash without my knowledge. And so you see the far-reaching effects of such a foolish and stupid choice that I did not even make for myself! Better do more than a lame apology, Lands End—your customers deserve better than this!

Do you see what you are doing Lands’ End? Putting distrust into a perfectly good marriage!

Some customers were just annoyed they got something free that was not the free thing that they wanted…

At what point did all those purchases of classic quality items make you think we needed a subscription to Glamour magazine? Weren’t you paying attention?
If you’re going to give away something, give away something of quality that I WANT and ask my permission first.
A rugby striped beach towel would be nice.

…While a few thought too much of a big deal was made about it:

Im female happily married and I don’t mind GQ. While I’m not a frequent Lands End customer I think that too big of a deal is being made of this. A topless woman isn’t any more pornographic than a topless man. Calling a topless woman pornographic is another form of bodyshaming, and I’m thankful I grew up in a home where I was taught that the body is just that a body. That breasts are used for sustaining life and our bodies are used for creating life and supporting it. Nobody here (I hope) would call the Birth of Venus, Chloe, or Danaē pornography, why is this any different?

In response to many of the posts and via email, Lands’ End CEO and president Edgar Huber posted the following apology, explaining that the magazine was switching from GQs to Condé Nast Traveler. Fewer boobs that way!

I would like to start by extending my most sincere apologies. We are aware that you have received the July issue of GQ magazine with a suggestive cover as a part of our recent customer bonus offer. We are truly sorry for the error and in no way, did we intend for this action to offend our most valued customers.
As a company, we are extremely apologetic that you have received this particular magazine on our behalf. Please understand that the images featured in the magazine do not reflect our company values. We have removed all of our customers’ names from the subscription list and have instead switched the subscriptions to Condé Nast Traveler. If you have already unsubscribed, you will not receive Condé Nast Traveler. If you would like to unsubscribe from Condé Nast Traveler, please call 1-800-685-0089.
We appreciate and value you as a customer and are committed to resolving this unfortunate matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any further questions or concerns.

“In the future, we will work more closely to assess content to make sure it is aligned with our well-known, long-held company values and those of our customers,” a spokeswoman also told the Times.

In the wake of this apology, however, the comments have not stopped. Some Lands’ End customers appreciated the company’s quick response, while others hated it:

An error in judgment was made, and an immediate response was made to rectify the mistake. Thank you for listening to your customers. When I called to cancel my subscription, it had already been taken care of. (Perhaps a cooking magazine might cause less concern on the future.)
I think I was even more appalled at the excuse in the form of an apology, that I was sent. That they meant it to be a gift to their male customers. That is absolutely disgusting and a major disrespect to your female customers. Those type of magazines are degrading and make women out to be objects. If that is the type of mind set your marketing has on women, then I think that person needs to be fired. If that is what you thought your male customers might like, then I want to know, what you think your female customers would like, as I don’t even think there is a female equivalent of GQ. Of course there is no sexualizing males that take place, only of women.
And please stop copying and posting the same response. I read the same response over and over again in other posts, and it is getting pretty lame.

You really cannot please everyone.

Images via GQ and Lands’ End

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