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PETA threatens to sue Bebe for allegedly lying about faux fur

A shawl advertized on Bebe's website as being made of faux fur. (Bebe.com)A shawl advertized on Bebe's website as being made of faux fur. (Bebe.com)People with gobs of red paint drying on their fur coats already know that PETA will go to extreme lengths in order to protest the mistreatment of animals.

This time, however, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals are appealing to the other side of the law.  

Instead of getting arrested again, members of the organization are threatening to sue clothing retailer Bebe for what they claim is the company’s continued use of real fur despite promises they would stop.

This supposed false claim is at the basis for PETA’s cease and desist letter to company CEO Steve Birkhold who, five years ago, promised that Bebe would only use fur of the faux variety.

"Bebe is misrepresenting itself to the public as a fur-free company," PETA spokesperson Danielle Katz tells Business Insider. "And consumers deserve to know the truth."

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In an interesting tactical move by PETA, last year they bought Bebe company shares, making them eligible to attend Bebe's big shareholder meeting in 2014.

They plan to use that platform to voice their demand that Bebe stops using fur once and for all.

“As a shareholder, PETA intends to appeal to other stakeholders at Bebe’s next annual meeting and will submit a shareholder resolution calling for the company to go fur-free. We hope that our pleas on behalf of our 3 million members and supporters worldwide will finally bring Bebe into the 21st century and convince the retailer to join top stores like Express, Calvin Klein, Abercrombie & Fitch, Guess, and H&M, all of which are 100 percent fur-free,” Katz writes to Fashionista.

PETA first set Bebe in its crosshairs back in 2007. The organization started protesting the company’s use of animal pelts and eventually Bebe released a press release stating it looked forward to “to completely eliminating animal fur.”

Also see: Canadian model nabs coveted job as the new face of Guess

PETA released this image as alleged evidence of Bebe using real fur. (Fashionista.com)PETA released this image as alleged evidence of Bebe using real fur. (Fashionista.com)While PETA believed it had won another victory, Martina Bernstein, PETA’s director of litigation, says she now believes the company has engaged in dubious behaviour.

“[I]n one call placed to Bebe headquarters, a representative admitted that the company does sell products made with fur,” Bernstein tells Fashionista.

PETA also released what they claim to be recent photos from a Denver, Colorado store. One of those images clearly reveals the use of “dyed rabbit fur” on a clothing label and the organization says they have more examples.

Ultimately, it is up to a judge to decide whether PETA will be able to successfully take the company to court.

Fur-using clothing retailers: Watch your stocks. PETA may be coming for you next.    

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