Alan Sorrentino says he felt “stress and danger” as hundreds of women walked down his street in yoga pants to peacefully protest his letter to the editor that advises women to “stop wearing them in public.”
But Sorrentino is not backing down, and has penned another letter that he hopes will be published.
“It’s not over,” the 67-year-old tells the Providence Journal. “It’s not over for me.”
Women around the world called out Sorrentino for his letter to Rhode Island’s Barrington Times that said wearing yoga pants in public is “the absolute worst thing to ever happen in women fashion[sic].” Protestors said they felt the letter was full of body shaming comments and another example of men telling women what to wear. But Sorrentino insists the letter was satire.
“There was so much heavy stuff in the newspaper, and I was trying to be funny, and I thought, wouldn’t it be great to write a crazy, stupid letter about something ridiculous,” he says. “It was in the spirit of red carpet commentary like Joan Rivers would do.”
But his letter instead created an enormous controversy, inspiring the Yoga Pants Parade that went past his home, where he lives with his partner, Charlie, and a friend with advanced form of multiple sclerosis, on Sunday. Sorrentino says he received death threats, and those and the parade left him terrified.
“People going ‘We’re coming to get you, we know where you live.’ They said ‘Die, bastard,’ ‘Die alone,’ ” he recalls. “This house was disrupted, and attacked, by a group of what I consider mentally ill, perverted people that wanted to hurt, who get joy out of hurting and causing pain.”
“It was violent, it was scary, it looked like the crucifixion. It was an assault on us, and people brought their children, and their pets, they were selling lemonade and popcorn, and they were stopping by the house jeering and yelling.”
However, the protest organizer Jamie Patrice said prior to the parade, “[T]his is NOT a hateful protest against Alan [Sorrentino]. This a wonderful group of people celebrating our bodies and our right to cover them however we see fit.”
“I want women of all ages, shapes and sizes to know that it is okay to wear whatever makes them feel comfortable,” Patrice said.
Sorrentino insists he’s just a “short little gay Italian” and women shouldn’t care enough about what he thinks to send death threats and organize protests — peaceful or not.
When asked why he bothered telling women that they shouldn’t wear yoga pants, Sorrentino said, “Well first of all, everybody does that, and secondly, who the hell am I? So what if I said that?”
“My family would say you have to have thicker skin and let it roll off your back. Don’t let what people say bother you.”
According to the Providence Journal, Sorrentino’s new letter says, “Remember, we’re all beautiful inside … It’s when you start flopping out that things get ugly.”