This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Fashion giant Next withdraws "Sinners" tops after Christian group complains
Fashion giant Next has withdrawn a T-shirt and sweatshirt from sale following complaints from religious groups.
Bosses at the Leicestershire retail company withdrew the items at the weekend after being contacted by a Christian group.
The men's tops, which carried the slogan 'Sinners – The Night Before' and bore a seductive image of a woman in black underwear and high heels lying on a bed, were withdrawn from sale in stores and online.
A number of definitions of sin, including one from the Bible, were also included on the tops, along with slogans such as "Live for the day" and "Seize the night and all it may hold".
Gareth Davies, head of the churches department at Christian Action Research and Education (Care), contacted Next via its official Facebook page on Friday to complain.
He posted: "Why are you marketing graphic T-shirts with misogynistic poses of women in underwear and promoting such images using the Bible?"
Mr Davies said he contacted Next after a distressed woman rang Care to complain about the T-shirt.
He said: "The image itself is very unhelpful. It gives a message about availability and vulnerability of women.
"They are then using the word sin and words from the Bible to suggest this is naughty but nice.
"The whole concept is wrong-headed and demeaning to women. Human dignity should be cherished and women should not be reduced to the level of an object."
A number of Christian and non-religious people joined the condemnation using Twitter and personal blogs.
Mr Davies said he was impressed with the way Next handled his complaint.
He said: "It took just five hours from my complaining to them getting back to me to tell me they were going to withdraw the shirts.
"Initially, they said they wanted to think about it. They thought about it then gave me the good news."
Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, an independent think-tank pioneering research into the causes and effects of family breakdown, also criticised Next for putting the tops on sale.
He said: "We welcome Next's swift response to customer complaints and expressions of public concern.
"However, the question still remains as to how products that demean women and encourage a casual attitude to sex were ever allowed to feature in the range in the first place.
"We hope Next will now take steps to ensure that such a gross misjudgment is not repeated in the future."
A Next spokesman said: "We received some customer complaints regarding a man's T-shirt and sweatshirt. On reflection, we agree it was a mistake to sell these garments and we are removing them from sale."