American Apparel's Flex Fleece hoody advertisement.

American Apparel is banned from running the "FLEXFLEECE Ryan" ad in the U.K. Photo: AmericanApparel.net

American Apparel is in legal hot water yet again!

This time the Los Angeles-based brand's self-described "provocative advertising" has gotten them in trouble with the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The government agency found that the advertisement "could be seen to sexualise a model who appeared to be a child, under the age of 16 years."

As such, the ASA "concluded that it was inappropriate and could cause serious offence to some readers," and banned the ad from running in UK media outlets.

Originally appearing on the back of Vice magazine, the ad in question reads "Ryan wears a classic unisex Flex Fleece Zip hoody," and showed a young-looking blonde girl modeling the sweatshirt, open and sans shirt, in a series of six photographs (see a run from the campaign, above).

American Apparel disagreed, arguing "Ryan" didn't look under 16 and was actually 23.

It was ruled that the ad breached a "Taste and Decency" clause of the UK's CAP Code.

The agency did add, however, that while the model was in various states of undress, the ASA wasn't bothered by the partial nudity, saying that showing skin was acceptable because Vice magazine (where it ran) "targeted 18- to 34-year-olds and the editorial content was of an adult nature, featuring articles on culture and sex."

American Apparel issued a press release in response to the ruling, stating: "The company has decided to comply with the advertising authority's request," and that "negative reactions are often a natural result of artistic or cultural expression."

What do you think? Is the ad "artistic" or was it high time American Apparel paid for overstepping the line in its "provocative advertising"? Let us know in a comment below.