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Anthropologie Brings Us ‘Nipplegate’

breastfeedingAnthropologie shopper Ingrid Wiese Hesson recently spoke to CBS news about an unfortunate (and illegal, according to California state law) incident she experienced at the chain’s Beverly Hill’s store, which she is calling “nipplegate.”

Here’s the story:

After spending $700 dollars on “breastfeeding friendly” clothes, Hesson sat down to breastfeed on one of the stores plush vintage chairs. Before long, she was approached by a manager, who said “I’m here to escort you to the ladies’ room so you can finish breastfeeding…”

When the manager opened the door to the restroom, she apologized for the lack of a chair. “Of course the only thing in the bathroom is the toilet seat,” Hesson noted.

Hesson said she contacted the store manager later to find out more about what had happened. The manager “said there are other customers in the store, and she thought they would be more comfortable and you would be more comfortable,” she recalled.

The manager’s actions “won’t stop me from doing what’s best for my baby, but it could stop me from shopping at stores that aren’t tolerant,” Hessen said.

Frankly, this one shocks me because I swear I’ve come across an Anthro catalogue featuring a breastfeeding model in some tribal maxi skirt pedaling optional $100 nipple tassels to plug up leakage when not in use.

It just all seems to go against the brand’s bourgeoise bohemian ethos, amirite?

Accordingly, Anthropologie emailed a statement to CBS MoneyWatch that expressed disappointment in hearing of the “unfortunate experience that occurred in our Beverly Hills store.”

As a company comprised of hundreds of mothers, which seeks to put the customer first, we celebrate women in all of their life stages. Given our staff’s dedication to providing exceptional customer service, we welcome this as an opportunity to enhance our customer experience by providing further training and education for our staff. Our aim is that all women—all mothers—be comfortable in our stores and delight in their relationship with Anthropologie.

Nonetheless, in the spirit of World Breastfeeding Month, people are protesting on Twitter and a “nurse-in” is being organized at the offending store. The crazy part, as AdWeek notes: “All of this has gone down in the past 23 hours. Technology is wild and impressive…”

Watch it below, and read the Facebook post that launched it all:

From Ingrid Wiese Hesson’s Facebook post:

I’m writing to share an unfortunate event that occurred at the Beverly Hills anthropologie location. As a long time Anthro member and loyalist, it seemed natural to do my first postpartum shopping outing at Anthroologie. Anxious to use my birthday discount, I brought my six week old infant along and we both smiled as I walked away from the register with $700 worth of Breastfeeding friendly clothing. But baby began to cry and I found a chair at the back of the store and sat down to feed him. Imagine my surprise when the manager Meredith approached, “I’m here to escort you to the ladies room where you can finish feeding your baby.” Shocked. I unlatched the infant, he began to cry, and we did the walk of shame to the stock room bathroom. There was nothing but a toilet in the room. “Sorry we don’t have a chair.” I left the store embarrassed and called back to talk to Meredith and verify what I had just experienced. “I thought you and the other customers would be more comfortable off the sales floor,” she explained. Please inform Meredith that CA law grants me the right to Breastfeed in public. As a store that caters to women, I would hope your staff would be more understanding. Meredith said, “we must be fair to all the customers, not just moms.” Meredith, moms are customers too. At least the many women that have already liked my Facebook post in the past hour seem to think so. Shame on you anthropologie.

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