A Bad Scent

This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, October 17, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: I'm Alan Colmes. Mike Gallagher filling in for Sean tonight. Mike, nice to see you.

MIKE GALLAGHER, CO-HOST: Hi, Alan. Good to see you.

GALLAGHER: Their new ad campaign is said to be overly sexually suggestive. You think?

A spokesperson for French Connection (search) released the following statement, "We do not feel our brand promotes any of the actions or impressions that organizations like the America Family Association (search) and the Christian Coalition have suggested. French Collection has always taken pride in our innovative and free sprit approach to our advertising, an approach that apparently resonates with American consumers since our sales have gone up since the FCUK logo was introduced."

GALLAGHER: Joining us from Memphis is the director of special projects for the American Family Association, Randy Sharp.

Randy, thanks for joining us tonight.

RANDY SHARP, AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOC.: Thank you, Mike. It's good to be with you.

GALLAGHER: There's no question this message resonates with American consumers to some degree, and their sales probably has gone up. What do you find more disgusting, this sleazy campaign or their refusal to acknowledge that this is all about sex and it is all about titillation? What's the most frustrating aspect of this company's position on their ad campaign?

I think it's probably a little bit of what you mentioned, Mike. Our biggest concern the targeting of the markets to very young children in stores all across America. When mothers take their 12 and 13-year-old boys to department stores, we don't need eight foot ads floor ceiling with half naked boys and girls in bed and being encouraged to FCUK him or her.

I mean, it's hard -- so insulting to the average intelligence to have them deny that this play on letters and the FCUK is in no way intended to be sexually suggestive.

What's the solution, Randy? We're faced with a cesspool of filth and sleaze all the time in the media and in ad campaigns. What do you see as the answer to all of this?

SHARP: Well, the answer, Mike is real simple. And that's consumer activism. When the consumer contacts a company, such as we did with Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Goldsmiths, some of the major department store companies in America, when consumers call them and say we're offended and if you don't stop the campaign we're just not going to enter your stores. Then it becomes an issue of profit.

COLMES: Randy, it's Alan. Welcome to the show. How does it feel that you may have helped their sales here? You gave them exactly what they wanted. They wanted groups like yours to object, to create a brouhaha and then you've given them exactly what they want.

SHARP: Well, you're right to a point, Alan. Certainly they knew that this certain issue was going to draw the ire of a lot of American parents. But we can't stand by and be silent and not say anything about it. Because if we remain silent then we accept it and we can't accept it. There is a standard of decency across America.

COLMES: How exactly would someone be corrupted by seeing a jumbled spelling of a word not used in mixed company? How does that corrupt somebody?

SHARP: Well, Alan, it's more to it than that. This company has spent $10 million on an advertising campaign in which they're promoting web sites scent to bed, s-c-e-n-t.

They're giving away prices to people...

COLMES: How does this -- a mind is corrupted by that exactly?

SHARP: Well, it puts an image in the mind. It doesn't take anyone with much intelligence to see that it's a play on the F-word. And that's exactly what they're trying to do.

GALLAGHER: American Family Association, fighting the good fight in Memphis. Thanks, Randy, for joining us.

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