Deena and the Situation, who is clearly damaging the Abercrombie brand during this scene from “Jersey Shore.” ((MTV))

Abercrombie & Fitch has offered to give Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino a “substantial payment” if he will stop wearing its clothes on “Jersey Shore.”

The clothing retailer’s brand senses department recently issued a press release that said the company is “deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino’s association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image.”

“We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans,” the release continues. “We have therefore offered a substantial payment to Michael 'The Situation' Sorrentino and the producers of MTV's The Jersey Shore to have the character wear an alternate brand.  We have also extended this offer to other members of the cast, and are urgently waiting a response.”

Either the people at Abercrombie & Fitch are publicly admitting to fashion blackmail, or they have issued this press release with tongues properly inserted in their cheeks, knowing it will get tons of additional publicity on top of the free publicity they get every time the Situation wears Abercrombie sweatpants. (My guess is the latter.)

Updated: Clearly MTV is also guessing the latter, based on the statement from a network spokesperson: “It’s a clever PR stunt and we’d love to work with them on other ways they can leverage Jersey Shore to reach the largest  youth audience on television."

An e-mail to the public relations departments at Abercrombie has not yet been returned, so there are no answers yet to the many obvious follow-up questions: how much of a substantial payment are we talking about here? How many “Jersey Shore” cast members is Abercrombie willing to pay? Can MTV producers really accept such a payment, especially when season four has already been shot, therefore preventing The Situation from ditching any Abercrombie apparel he may already have worn while in Florence?

Oh, and lastly: I never wear Abercrombie clothes. Can I have five bucks?