The situation: Abercrombie & Fitch is too good for the "Jersey Shore" and is willing to make a "substantial payment" to cast members not to wear its clothes.
Abercrombie & Fitch, the Ohio-based clothing retailer that has previously been in hot water for its racy T-shirts, racy catalogs and questionable employment practices, asked "Jersey Shore" star Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino in a statement Tuesday to stop wearing its digs on TV because his character may be sullying its name.
"We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino's association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image. We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans," an Abercrombie & Fitch representative said in the statement. "We have also extended this offer to other members of the cast, and are urgently waiting a response."
So that means no high-priced A&F graphic tees or college-friendly sweats for Pauly D, Snooki, JWoww, Vinny, Ron, Sammi and Deena either. Conveniently, the company's offer and the attendant publicity coincide with late summer's back-to-school shopping crush.
In an interview with New York magazine last summer, The Situation sounded off on the "Jersey Shore" effects on merchandise.
"The show went international, and I read that it's very big overseas, especially 'The Situation' -- my name, or my character -- is known worldwide now," he said. "Abercrombie & Fitch, their most popular shirt, they told me, is 'Fitchuation.' I mean, where did they get that from? Obviously from myself."
Sorrentino earned roughly $3 million last year from the show and pushing merchandise for various brands -- still, might it pay for the Sitch to ditch A&F during his "gym, tan, laundry" routine? Like, more than it would pay if he were hired as their spokesmodel?
Hey, we don't hear Ed Hardy complaining about the cast wearing its ornate digs on the show.
The MTV series, which broke MTV's ratings record with its recent fourth-season premiere, is currently filming the antics of the hard-partying, gym-loving, partially Italian American cast in Florence, Italy.
-- Nardine Saad
Photo: Abercrombie & Fitch has made an offer to Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino -- shown in a Cohesive & Co. suit at GQ's Men of the Year party in March -- and the rest of the "Jersey Shore" gang to stop wearing its "aspirational" clothes. Credit: Charles Sykes / Associated Press