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Unpack your sign-making supplies, everybody: It's protest day in midtown! At 4pm, the NYU chapter of environmentalist group Teens Turning Green will congregate outside Abercrombie's Fifth Avenue flagship to challenge the brand's habit of spraying cologne all over the place. And at 6pm, activists are gathering outside the Hearst building to stage The Big Fat Kiss-In, in which protesters of all sizes and shapes will make out in response to a Marie Claire blogger's recent online rant about how she doesn't want to see fat people kissing.
The Abercrombie protest is just one skirmish in an ongoing war against the brand's Fierce fragrance; our sister site actually covered an earlier event this month. It's not just a matter of whether Fierce smells good or not. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the fragrance has eight different ingredients known to set off headaches, asthma, and other allergic reactions. And Stylelist quotes an expert who says that 30% of the population have unpleasant physical reactions to fragrance. Not only is Abercrombie actually inflicting pain on nearly a third of its potential customers, but it's also possibly doing terrible things to their manhood—one of the ingredients in Fierce is diethyl phthalate, which is known to harm testosterone.
In a message on its Facebook page, A&F claims that the scent is safe and that "A&F has significantly reduced the frequency of hand spritizing that associates do in the stores," instead perfuming the air with "scenting machines." (This is supposed to be an improvement, even if it does call to mind a terrifying new installment in the Terminator series.) Abercrombie fans have also weighed in with insightful commentary like "lol abercrombie and fitch just owned the shit out of 'the campaign for safe cosmetics.'"
How effective will today's protest be? And will it disturb the perma-line of tourists waiting for their own chance to breathe the fumes? We'll be liveblogging; tune in to find out. As for the Marie Claire event, head to the Facebook page and Jezebel for more details. Heck, if you were feeling really fired up, you could just do a 57th Street protest crawl all afternoon.
· Abercrombie & Fitch Under Fire For Spraying Cologne Containing 'Secret Chemicals' in Stores [Stylelist]
· Protest At Marie Claire's Offices Tomorrow [Jezebel]
· Teenage Protesters Storm Abercrombie & Fitch Shouting: "A+F Stop Your Spray, Your Toxic Fragrance Must Go Away!" [Racked National]