While reactions from users swayed from nostalgic amusement over old Sears catalogues, to outraged consumers who found the ‘inappropriate’ material offensive, the nudity slip-up comes just months after the American Family Association accused the retail giant of ‘selling smut.’
While many family-oriented commenters have shown their outrage, several customers, both male and female, have said they find it ‘refreshing’ that the sheer lingerie product was shown accurately as being see-through.
One male user wrote: ‘I hate it when they airbrush out the nipples. I accidentally bought something that was see-through for my girlfriend and she was less than amused and did not believe it was an accident.
‘I didn’t know “sheer” was, I thought it meant smooth or something to do with wind sheer,’ he added.
Another female user wrote: ‘I always have to wonder why we think nudity is such a big deal. It’s a breast, half the world has them.
‘It really just goes over my head as to why (specifically in the U.S.) we are cool with graphic depictions of death and torture (eg Saw) but a video with two people having sex is totally unacceptable. It boggles my mind every time.’
The offending lingerie slip is not actually a Sears product however, it came from a reseller named Fright Depot.
Sears, which uses the same concept as other e-commerce sites like Amazon, allows marketplace sellers to list their own stock through the department store’s website.
One user explained: ‘I seem to recall something inappropriate [from a reseller] with Dora the Explorer popping up a few months back.’
And according to the American Family Association, Sears has been selling ‘giant posters of total nud**y’ under its home section of Wall Decor and Art, as well as books on bestiality and pedophilia, from outside vendors.
The Association wrote: ‘Generations of Americans have grown up with Sears, through the catalogs, retail stores and, of late, website. But a family organization now is raising a protest because alongside the appliance, electronics, jewelry and fitness categories… one line of items for sale features explicit nudity.’
Embarrassed: The department store quickly removed the product, which was filed under its Exotic Apparel, and Lingerie and Sets sections for $25.99, however not fast enough for users to take screen grabs of the original link
After a ‘Sears Action Alert’ from the AFA and One Million Moms (the group who loudly spoke out against recent gay marriage advocacy ads from JC Penney and Forever 21), Sears apparently assured it was updating filtering equipment and enforcing strict guidelines to prevent sexually explicit products being available on its website.
However Monica Cole, the director of One Million Moms, wrote in July this year: ‘Less than two months after Sears’ latest promise in May 2012, the pornography has returned. Sears continues to offend their customers with nudity in ads for the posters they sell and the naughty lingerie.’
After customers complained directly to Sears in July, they were told that the offending items were being removed. A customer service email response said, ‘Our agreements with our vendors prohibit content that is pornographic or sexually explicit in nature.