bebe Threatened With PETA Lawsuit for Lying About Fur

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

Update: April 8 at 1:30 p.m. ETAlthough bebe acknowledged receipt of PETA’s cease-and-desist letter and promised us a response, PETA has not received one and bebe continues to misrepresent itself to the public as a fur-free company. So PETA has filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) regarding the retailer’s consumer deception. The bureau can now ask bebe to resolve PETA’s grievance. It can also post our complaint to bebe’s BBB webpage, which could negatively impact the company’s BBB rating.

Originally posted on January 28 at 11:25 a.m. ET:

Faced with backlash from customers for selling real fur, bebe could have done the honorable thing and pulled it from its shelves. Instead, the company decided to lie.

As everyone knows, some customers won’t shop for anything in a store that sells fur, just as they won’t buy “pet” supplies in a store that sells animals. Even though bebe currently sells rabbit and chinchilla fur in some of its stores, on two separate occasions—one as recent as January 15—callers to bebe’s customer service line were told that bebe doesn’t sell fur. One caller recorded her conversation, which you can listen to here. PETA’s attorneys have sent a cease-and-desist advisory to Steve Birkhold, bebe’s CEO, letting him know that if bebe doesn’t either start being honest with customers or actually stop selling real fur, PETA may take the company from the mall to the courthouse for engaging in false advertising, which is a violation of both state and federal laws.

It’s no wonder that bebe wants to cover up the fact that it’s selling real fur. In China, where bebe sources much of its fur, workers pull rabbits out of cages by their ears and stun the screaming animals with electrical devices. And in China as well as other countries, animals are bludgeoned to death, electrocuted, and often even skinned alive, as documented in this undercover footage.

As bebe is likely learning, few people are willing to patronize retailers that support such cruelty. Let bebe know that you are one of many potential customers who will refuse to buy its clothing until its shelves truly are fur-free.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind