American Apparel bosses sent a scathing open letter to the winner of its plus size model competition, Nancy Upton, after refusing to acknowledge her win.

Upton, a 24-year-old student from Dallas, entered the ‘Next Big Thing’ competition with some satirical pictures, taken to highlight what she considered to be American Apparel’s offensive tone.

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“I thought it was tacky," Upton told Adweek. "I took that tone of theirs, 'Hey fat people, you can play too’, and used it as an inspiration for my photos."

Nancy Upton American Apparel

The resulting photos – taken by Upton’s friend – show her showing chicken into her mouth in a swimming pool, pouring chocolate syrup into her mouth and sploshing around in ranch dressing.

However, despite the fact that Upton emerged the clear winner, gathering thousands of internet votes, American Apparel bosses decided her entry was invalid.

In an open letter to Upton, the clothing brand’s Creative Director Iris Alonso said.”

“I wonder if you had taken just a moment to imagine that this campaign could actually be well intentioned, and that my team and I are not out to offend and insult women, would you have still behaved in the same way, mocking the confident and excited participants who put themselves out there?”

Nancy Upton American Apparel

She continues that the American Apparel competition was light-hearted and that its tone was not meant to be offensive.

The letter ends:

“Oh — and regarding winning the contest, while you were clearly the popular choice, we have decided to award the prizes to other contestants that we feel truly exemplify the idea of beauty inside and out, and whom we will be proud to have representing our company.”

Apparently Upton is not bitter about losing the competition, saying she entered to make a point, not to win a modelling contract.