by Colleen Smith, staff reporter
Famous pop divas Madonna and Missy Elliott seem proud to endorse clothing sold at The Gap, as they can be seen wearing it and singing about it in a new commercial. The Gap hopes that their superstar appeal will get teens to rush out and buy, but how many will consider that Gap clothes (including Banana Republic, Old Navy, and baby Gap) are usually made in third world sweatshops, many of which are guilty of exploiting children? How is it that these two pop culture icons could endorse such an unscrupulous bunch? Could it be greed, the same kind that motivated former Gap CEO, Millard Drexler to pay himself over 39 million dollars in 2000? Could it be ignorance? Maybe these two wealthy and pampered celebs are so out of touch, that they are unaware of how The Gap treats workers. The Gap claims they are not responsible for the conditions in textile mills, as it does not own or operate them. The Gap contracts with the mills, and they hire workers. This stale old excuse doesn't hold up. The Gap could easily require contractors to establish safe working conditions, reasonable hours, and living wages, but refuses to.
I sought out comments from the two singers, but have gotten no responses so far. I would really like to know personally, from both of them, how they can justify endorsing The Gap. Do they not know the message they are sending, that it is alright to buy clothing made by children in third world sweatshops if celebrities endorse it? Or do they simply not care, as long as they are being paid?
This is all part of a larger public relations campaign to fool people into thinking that the corporation has reformed itself, and no longer deserves to be boycotted or protested as they were in 1995, in 2002, and on numerous other occasions. To anyone who has done his or her homework, it is clear that nothing really has changed. The Gap's executives are multi-millionaires, and the people who make their clothes can barely afford clothes to wear, much less food or shelter. There is a song I would like to dedicate to Missy and Madonna by The Pretenders, which was originally aimed at Michael Jackson. It is entitled, How Much Did You Get For Your Soul.