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Ethical Analysis of a Company: American Apparel
But there are three further considerations that may suggest that American Apparel has to pursue progressive values: (1) its focus on a young audience, (2) the values it has been propagating and which its customers and shareholders expect from it, (3) the real purpose behind using these progressive advertisements.
The first of which may once again hold only in terms of avoiding harm due to how vulnerable the chosen audience is, but not necessarily suggesting an ethical duty to do good. The second however implies a ‘promise’ of sorts, the breach of which would be harm to those who trust it. From a Kantian perspective, the 3rd consideration may turn out to be problematic. The question of whether American Apparel pursues shocking ads for benevolent goals or rather just as a publicity stunt is often asked. In the words of Charney himself: “you're not going to get customers walking into stores by asking for mercy and gratitude” (Walker, 2008). However, the true intention behind such pictures as the one depicting Jacky O'Shaughnessy remains unknown.
In summary, the question of American Apparel’s obligation to pursue progressive beauty standards remains unresolved without making additional assumptions. An extreme utilitarian view would suggest they have that obligation, while other ethical standpoints generally do not demand an obligation to do good (rather just to avoid harm), unless a previous agreement has been made. If we consider companies as actors who have made that agreement with their stakeholders, then that may suggest an obligation to pursue progressive advertising.
- Analysis of Article 38 of the International Court of Justice / Starptautiskās Tiesas 38. Reglamenta analīze
- Ethical Analysis of a Company: American Apparel
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