On June 1st, the Supreme Court rendered a decision favoring a girl by the name of Samantha Elauf over retailer Abercrombie & Fitch. News coverage was widespread, and nearly every publication I read had virtually the same recital of the facts.
Simply stated, this young Muslim woman applied for a position at Abercrombie in 2011. The assistant manager felt she was an excellent candidate, but both he and the store manager were concerned that her wearing of a hijab would fail to exemplify the stores “look policy”. Her application was thus declined. Enter the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). The arguments of the case went back and forth on the technicalities of who knew what when. Ultimately, Elauf was awarded $20,000. The Court of Appeals overturned it, and the case wound up going all the way to the Supreme Court.
Here’s the thing that gets me. Elauf, according to her LinkedIn page, was employed by retailer Forever 21as a Visual Merchandising Manager from 2008 to 2015. So, being in the business means that she had to be familiar with the culture and style of Abercrombie; just look at their ads and their shirtless staff. Why would a girl with her upbringing and religious persuasion want to work in a store that goes against her grain? This point was also brought out by fellow blogger Pamela Geller – the woman who brought you Garland, Texas. If she was gainfully employed at the time, why did she just happen to pursue a change in jobs to Abercrombie? This year she finally did move to Urban Outfitters, but not before leaving a ruckus in her wake.
This is contrivance in its purest form. This is not a win for the freedom of religious expression. This is not a win for equal opportunity. This is not a win for social justice or discrimination. This is religion being forced down our throats. Do I approve of the style of Abercrombie? Not really. I remember the days when it was an amazing purveyor of fashion and accessories, not where a bunch of boy-toy types flaunted their hairless chests – thank goodness they’ve moved away from this. But, it makes me crazy that the Supreme Court (except for Clarence Thomas) wasn’t able to see through the ruse.