Ethics Dunce: Bloomingdale’s


Can you read that?  Bloomingdale’s catalogue, just in time for the holidays, urges young men to drug their dates’ drinks. All the better to rape them later when they are too out of it to consent to sex. Or maybe, for the especially enterprising, sell them into white slavery while they’re in a stupor. Ho Ho Ho!

Here, this is a clearer version:


The feminist blogs and websites were all over this one, so after somebody explained the outrage to the collection of Mad Men throwbacks, pigs and felons who work in Bloomies’ marketing department, they came up with an apology. “In reflection of recent feedback, the copy we used in our recent catalog was inappropriate and in poor taste. Bloomingdale’s sincerely apologizes for this error in judgment,” the retailer told Tech Insider.

Here’s the problem: If you can’t tell that an ad like that is creepy without someone telling, you are creepy, and so are all the people who let the ad get into print.

61 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Bloomingdale’s

  1. By the way, maybe it ought to be the men who are angry. The guy on the right has lazy glazed over, almost drunken eyes, while the girl laughs knowingly, almost maliciously…

    How do we know WHO spiked WHOSE drink here?

  2. “Here’s the problem: If you can’t tell that an ad like that is creepy without someone telling, you are creepy, and so are all the people who let the ad get into print.”

    Nailed it. A small, bitter part of me wants to point out that men are routinely subjected to similar creepy marketing stunts in women’s magazines, we simply just don’t care about it. But that doesn’t make this right. And when you consider that this had to pass by an entire marketing department and editors…. It’s damning.

  3. I think a couple of buddies at the office Christmas party having a little fun with each other and a bottle of rum. I guess everyone else sees Bill Cosby run amuck on a rohypnol spree at the Atheist Holiday Jamboree allowing his victims to drive home afterwards. As a society we are becoming the consistency of sludge. People are becoming so afraid of offending people’s over sensitive sensibilities that no one is moving. We are all standing around looking at one another waiting to see who we can pounce on for nothing. The whole subject reminds me of when I was a child and I would tune up to cry over nothing. My mother would put it all in perspective by saying, “Would you like for me to give you something to really to cry about?” Therefore, I propose all these blushing little flowers turn their 1st World righteous anger, indignation, and whatever else they claim to be feeling against their will and direct all that energy toward some truly offensive things in this world like War, Hunger, Poverty, and so on. If people and companies were as quick to act on those really offensive subjects as quick as they jump to apologize and correct completely benign, stupid, or misguided minutia, we could be approaching nirvana by next weekend. Then again, I think about the type of people who have the time to take offense at everything, and I feel remember, “Here’s to the ladies who lunch! Aren’t they a gas?”

      • It would not have been my choice had I been the one putting the book together. However, I don’t think that it rises to the level of offensiveness that everyone else thinks. It all depends on one’s point of reference. If one is assuming, looking, and expecting offense, one can find it any and everywhere. A mind that goes directly to DATE RAPE when viewing that ad is “creepy” and sad in my opinion not the one that perceives it as it was intended as harmless fun. I mean does anyone really think Bloomingdale’s was actually promoting date rape?

        • My mind didn’t go directly to date-rape, but it is a reasonable place for one’s mind to go with that ad.

          I think a thing to take away from this is that in a sea of false or manufactured offense, there still are legitimate offenses that ought be addressed. Don’t let those who cry about trivia fool you into thinking that someone crying must be crying about trivia.

          • I agree with this. My first thought was that someone likely wanted to see their best friend dancing on tabletops with a lampshade over her (or his, for that matter) head. But I can see where a great many people would assume sexual intent instead. It should have crossed the minds of anyone in charge of the ad before it was released.

  4. Hard to imagine the message wasn’t intentional when the model strongly resembles Robin Thicke who wrote the controversial song, Blurred Lines.

  5. Coupla questions come immediately to mind…why in God’s name would you want to spike your best friends drink? That’s a SURE way to dissolve a friendship…and if you’re looking to dissolve the friendship, why is he/she your best friend? Which SHOULD lead us back to Date Rape…although I’d be a little hesitant to try that on my best friend. HE was a quartermaster on a nuclear missile sub.

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