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American Apparel hit by further ad ban for 'inappropriately sexualising' young women

Controversial fashion retailer American Apparel has received yet another ban from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for "inappropriately sexualising" a young model on its website.

The image appeared on the brand's product page for its Lips Print Cotton Spandex Sleeveless Thong Bodysuit, and showed a female model in four images wearing the advertised product. One of the images showed her from the back with her buttocks visible.

One viewer reported the images to the ASA and claimed that they portrayed a sexualised image of a model who they thought looked under 16 years of age.

American Apparel (UK) said the model was 20 years old and that the image of her wearing the thong was in line with promoting the product.

However the ASA said in its ruling that due to the model's "youthful appearance" some consumers were likely to regard her as being younger than 16. This, coupled with the sexualised pose, meant that the the ad could be seen to sexualise a child. The watchdog therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and was likely to cause serious offence.

The ruling is the latest in a long line for American Apparel under the eye of disgraced founder and former CEO Dov Charney, who was ousted from the business last year.

Last month incoming chief executive Paula Schneider promised to tone down the retailer's "overtly sexual" advertising strategy and instead focus on social issues such as gay rights and anti-bullying.

She told Bloomberg in an interview: “It doesn’t have to be overtly sexual. There’s a way to tell our story where it’s not offensive. It is an edgy brand. And it will continue to be an edgy brand.”

The ad must not appear again in its current form.