Youth-oriented apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has again courted controversy with a T-shirt bearing a tongue-in-cheek reference to incest.

The men's T-shirts, which carry the slogan 'It's all relative in West Virginia' superimposed over a map of the American state, were "offensive" and "inaccurate" according to Governor Bob Wise.

In a letter to Abercrombie CEO Michael Jeffries, Wise asked that the Ohio-based retailer drop the T-shirt from its range.

"I write to you today to demand that you immediately remove this item from your stores and your print and online catalogues," he wrote.

"This item subjects our youth to unsubstantiated and false impressions of West Virginia.

"By selling and marketing this offensive item, your company is perpetuating an inaccurate portrayal of the people of this great state.

"Indeed, such a depiction of West Virginians undermines our collective efforts to communicate a positive representation of the spirit and values of our citizens."

Despite the protest, Abercrombie corporate communications director Tom Lennox said the company had nothing against the state.

"We love West Virginia," Lennox said.

"We love California, Florida, Connecticut, Hawaii and Nebraska, too.

"Abercrombie & Fitch was born and raised in the USA and we honour all 50 states in the union."