Fox just agreed to show the initially rejected Lane Bryant lingerie ad, but ABC is reportedly holding out. Why? Lane Bryant says it's because they're afraid of breasts — on a bigger woman, that is. But the networks dispute that.

The New York Post picked up on the story today with their typical flair — "ABC is issuing a 'fat'-wa against full-figured models" — and got an unnamed Lane Bryant source to discuss the details:

"The cleavage of the plus-size models, they said, was excessive, and we don't think that's the case," said the source. "It certainly appears to be discrimination against full-sized women."

According to the same source, Fox had asked Lane Bryant to tone down the ad by cutting down on shots of the model's body. But a spokesman for Fox told The Post that "We didn't treat them any differently than Victoria's Secret." A version of the ad will air on next Wednesday's American Idol.

Blame Cleavage: Why Networks Rejected Plus-Size Lingerie Ad (Updated)

ABC has issued a statement saying of Lane Bryant,

Their statements are not true. The ad was accepted. Lane Bryant was treated absolutely no differently than any advertiser for the same product. We were willing to accommodate them, but they chose to seek publicity instead."

If Lane Bryant's account of events is accurate, it would confirm suspicions that this is about the belief that larger women are somehow hypersexual, even as their bodies are less valued in pop cultural imagery. A woman bigger than a size 0 admiring her own body and apparently going off to do something hot with it? Now that's a scandal. And if indeed this is a giant publicity stunt, well — it's cynical, but well-played, Lane Bryant. And nice ad.

Update: Lane Bryant has released their correspondence with ABC, showing that they indeed were banned from Dancing With The Stars. (Click to enlarge):

Blame Cleavage: Why Networks Rejected Plus-Size Lingerie Ad (Updated)

Blame Cleavage: Why Networks Rejected Plus-Size Lingerie Ad (Updated)

'Narrow'-Minded ABC Refuses To Air Ad With Buxom babe, Clothing Line Claims [NYP]
Lane Bryant Nets Fox Exposure [Adweek]

Plus-Size Lingerie Ad Removed From Web After Censorship By Networks