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July 09, 2005

Dov Charney of American Apparel in court

More proof that male privilege is not a viable business model:

His Way Meets a Highway Called Court

According to some former employees, however, sex is used for more than selling clothes at American Apparel. In two separate sexual harassment lawsuits, three plaintiffs who worked on American Apparel's administrative and sales staffs charge that they endured sexual misconduct and innuendo and an environment in which women did not feel safe.

The culprit, they say, is Mr. Charney, 36, a retailing maverick from Montreal, who founded the company in 1997 and now has 4,500 employees, more than 50 stores in five countries and annual sales of $250 million.The suits, filed in the last six weeks in Los Angeles Superior Court by a sales manager, a recruiter and a trade show coordinator, accuse Mr. Charney of behavior that ranges from inappropriate to bizarre.

Among the allegations: using crude language and gestures, conducting job interviews in his underwear, ordering the hiring of women in whom he had a sexual interest and giving one of the plaintiffs a vibrator.

In court papers Mr. Charney denied all the allegations. And in an e-mailed statement he said, "In my opinion their lawsuits are a false attempt to extort money from my company and exploit my transparent persona." [Emphasis added]

Obviously, we shouldn't prejudge the case against Charney. He deserves his day in court like everyone else. However, as Amanda and other bloggers noted over the past few weeks, multiple convergent reports suggest the CEO of American Apparel runs his business as a sexual peonage system.

Mark Moford has a maximally charitable description here. Feministing and her commenters take a harder look here.

American Apparel makes a great product and treats their employees very well by industry standards. Their marketers and advertisers are geniuses who have built a global brand for a seemingly unbrandable product. American Apparel makes knits with no labels, no prints, no seasonal collections, and no difficult-to-sew materials. These radical simplifications enable high volume production at low cost. AA passes some of those savings on to its employees in the form of higher wages and better benefits, a policy that becomes fodder for their savvy marketing to ethical consumers. (Unfortunately AA is not only sweatshop free, but also union-free. Charney opposed a unionization drive, despite his promises never to interfere with unionization efforts.)

Dov Charney needs to get over his "transparent persona" and run his business. I would hate to see his irresponsible behavior drive such a promising company into the ground.

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This does not bode well for American Apparel head-honcho Dov Charney. Former employees of a Chowchilla correctional facility filed a sexual harrassment claim because the warden had engaged in consensual relationships with subordinate employees. The w... [Read More]

Comments

What a funny story. Hahahaha.

Maybe he could run the business from prison.

Maybe he could use this incident to get some psychological help to address his behavioral issues with women, then return to the job running a company it's good to have around. That would be ideal.

Pat Honda, a customer service manager, said it is not unusual for Mr. Charney to be seen in his underwear in his office because he tries out products before they are introduced. "We're a manufacturer," she said. "We make underwear."

Worst. Excuse. Ever.

The sad thing I ran into with a couple well-meaning people I discussed this with is that some people still buy the notion that sexual harassment is the product of frigidity or prudishness on the part of the victims. Regardless of any one victim's personal take on sexual openness, harassment is a much bigger issue and usually a circumstance of gender discrimination more than anything. And if Charney is veering dangerously close to an unspoken quid pro quo--though I can't say one way or another if he does, but certainly his actions would lead some employees to think sex with the boss in beneficial to one's career--it is not necessarily detrimental to all women, just the ones who won't fuck him. One's willingness to have sex with person who signs your paycheck is a prostitute's job description. Nothing against prostitutes, but that's not the job these women are hired to do.

Rawk. I've been waiting for this. Finally.

I agree, if he could get help and come back a decent human being, I'd be thrilled to buy American Apparel clothing.

I'm a woman and I work at American Apparel. It is widely known in the company that the sexual harrassment claims these 3 women have put forth are false. Not only did the media hear about the cases before the papers were served, but the women only brought up the alleged harrassment after they had already left the company. Not one of them brought their concerns to the proper authorities before attaining a lawyer. No one talked to HR, the CA Labor Board, or anyone at the corporate office. I am not alone in the belief that these women are attempting to extort money from a successful company. I'm confident that in court, Mr. Charney will be cleared of these false charges and we'll all be able to continue to work.
AA is an amazing company and it offers tremendous opportunity to thousands of people. I couldn't be happier at AA and it hurts me to see so many people latching on to a sensationalized story and invalidating all of our hard work. I love American Apparel and I sincerely hope that people will look for both sides of the story, before condemning both Dov and the company.

Open you rminds.
It's not all black and white.

Great article on sexual harassment lawsuits:
http://www.nypress.com/17/43/news&columns/feature.cfm

As a contract negotiator and consultant for a number of large and small firms alike, the way Charney's always managed both his enterprise and public relations has always fascinated me. Guys like this just don't need girls like me.
I find it dubious that someone who is so candid and transparent about his lifestyle would run the risk of of exposing himself to legitimate charges of sexual harassment. He'd be too much of a 'fish in a barrel' if the allegations were true.
There just might be something to what Josephine is saying after all.
Besides, business contacts of mine have hinted that that Gloria Allred's very own two clients are already pursuing a settlement rather than letting it go to trial. If there's any truth to that, it just might be a clear cut case of publicity black-mail, something that any negotiator (legal or otherwise) knows the value of.

ex american apparel employee,
I have to admit that I find your account somewhat suspect. You've included neither time frames--never mind dates--and haven't indicated what city it was that he'd flew you to.
My gut instinct tells me that you haven't done that much because it would be easily confirmed whether or not Charney was in any given city during any given period of time.
I mean, if you were going to come forward, why wouldn't you first stand up to be counted.

One of the really annoying aspects of this whole thing is this idea that if you happen to be hot and you work at american apparel, you must be fucking dov charney.

How insulting! Right, yeah I'm just a mindless bimbo. Please Oh please marxist lesbian feminist ironic hipster disgruntled former employee union consultant people, and all the other self-appointed saviors please oh please save me and all the other hotties at American Apparel because we have no brain.

I would not work for a company where sexism is institutionalized. If one of my managers behaved in an unnacceptable manner I would make his or her life miserable. No one fucks with me. I am no one's little dress up doll.

And yet I am proud and thrilled to be working for American Apparel. This thing portrayed in the media and on the Internet is pretty horrible. But it bears absolutely no resembalnce to the place I work at and the people I work for.

And the clothing is completely sublime.

I am also an ex-employee, as well as roommate, of Dov Charney. We had a bad falling out, and in 2001, I left aa. Not many of the same employees that are there today were there then, but the ones that are, know how nasty it got.

Dov and I had a relationship that most people couldn’t understand....we hated to love one another. I loved his company; he loved me for loving his company. I was there in the days when there was only 14 styles, 8 colors, no panties, no individual offices – (everyone in a little area –desks butted up against each other) before there was a website, phone extensions, or even a shipping dept. (customer service - the 3 of them used to package their own orders).

I remember the day we sat down at his house on his computer and in less than 5 minutes....the classic girl, american standard, and classic baby logo was born.

I remember drinking coffee until 5:00 a.m. while helping him edit the “new catalog” (which he designed all by his self back then) then running to the printer to print 500 catalogs, then loading up the rented van with samples and driving to MAGIC exhausted as shit... running only on our adrenaline.

I can go on and on...for days. About good times, about bad; but no matter what he still has a special place in my heart. It hurts me to see women play the harassment card. Of course, when I left there...people tried to get me to play that card. I laughed in their face. We had our screaming matches....was it his fault?....maybe sometimes...but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the easiest person to work with. I had the aa determination blood like most get infected with. The blood that runs thought your veins, that make you feel apart of something, something big, something that you can help create.

I have since made up with Dov and we’ve decided to start new. Do I kick myself everyday for leaving aa? What do you think? Will I get another chance to work with Dov again? I certainly hope so.

I fucking hate American Apparel. I hate their sleazy ad campaigns.

sleazy ad campaigns, totally. I hate em too, especially because american apperal really stands out among fashion advertising as being particularly exploitative. You never see other fashion advertisers using sex to sell clothes, or perfume, right?

This Calvin Klien ad, totally kosher, right? Except that Kate moss looks about 13, a little scared and a lot naked. Wait, now I'm gonna have to boycott Calvin Klien.

At least Versace doesn't do that. Oh shoot, look at this. Dang. Milla Jovovich bent over in heels and a short skirt. I guess there goes Versace from my moral wardrobe.

Well, at least I'm safe in Prada. They don't use get all pervy, making models out to look like underage school girls like aa. Wait, scratch that, you can even see cristie turlington's nipples. But at least this one reflects real life. I know I like to have my morning cigarette naked and outside.

Well, geez, tell me at least I can still wear my Louis Vuitton purse while knowing that he doesn't stoop to using sex to sell his product. Oh no, is that really a snake coming out from between her legs? Yep. Here too.

See, it's one thing to object to the use of sex in fashion advertising, but its another to finger point at American Apparel as if they are they only ones, or the worst ones doing it. That's called having an axe to grind. So let's all get down off our soap boxes now and go back to real life.

I think Charney does a good job of self incrimination in this Jewish Journal article. Speaking as an attorney, I am sure his attorney are going to try to settle all of these out of court as he would be a disaster before a jury. Read this article: http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=14419

Right, if the claims are true, it would indeed be wise to settle quietly out of court. It seems that American Apparel is pretty sure they can prrove the claims are false cause they are pursuing the case rather than settling. Seems pretty ballsy, but if they are right then I guess it's better to fight the good fight and get back your good name then let some disgruntled ex employees walk away with a cool $2 million bucks. Let justice be served, right?

Look, I have worked for American Apparel for 2 years and worked with the gold digging money hungry women that filed suit against Dov Charney. There is no case. They were hoping for a free ride and a quick settlement. It seems that alot of people are jumping on the anti-American Apparel bandwagon because it's "cool" or "unique" to go against the grain. I fully support this company, our amazing products and Dov Charney.

If you wish to contact me please do. Come down and I'll give you a tour. I am sick of all the misinformation spread by disgruntled ex employees and hearsay in general.


Candice Rivera

Not only is the jury still out, the court isn't even in session. There's a lot more to Dov Charney and American Apparel than some would have you believe. I work for American Apparel and I'm tired of seeing my boss dragged through the mud unfairly due to innaccuracies and bias. I'm tired of seeing the hard working women at American Apparel marginalized by self-righteous, self-appointed guardians of our virtue. If you are really interested in the whole AA story, you'd be intellectually honest enough to read and occasionally cite some of the other press as well, at least for the sake of balance. As always, anyone is always welcome to come down to the factory and see first hand how things are run.

Here's and profile-article from Inc.com of Dov">http://www.inc.com/magazine/20050901/american-apparel.html">Dov
Charney as a revolutionary, visionary business man

An Article from the Seattle Times about how href="http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002576488_amapparel22m.html">American
Apparel stores assist in urban redevelopment by reviving run down
areas when their stores move in.

"Dov">http://www.gawker.com/news/american-apparel/dov-charney-always-bad-for-the-jews-130531.php">Dov
Charney, Always Bad for the Jews" by Gawker on his Kitchy sense of
humor in advertising

A follow up interview about Dov">http://www.jewlicious.com/index.php/dov-charneys-jewlicious-disco-bar-mitzvah-party/">Dov
Charney's Bar Mitzvah and adolescent boyhood.


An article from Gay.com on how href="http://www.gay.com/news/roundups/package.html?sernum=1224">Dov
Charney might be creating the future of fashion.

propositioning that Dov">http://www.jewlicious.com/index.php/dov-charney-american-mensch/">Dov
Charney may be a mentch after all


A blog that says the href="http://anaesthetic.typepad.com/main/2005/10/primary_plainti.html">primary
plaintiff against Charney is lying.

What actually went down with href="http://www.jrn.columbia.edu/studentwork/cns/2004-03-01/501.asp">Dov
Charney and the Union drive. What the union doesn't want you to know.

These and other readily available articles and comments ought to earn
Mr. Charney at least the benefit of the doubt with respect to the
pending lawsuits and the reputation as a union buster.


Sorry, I pressed the post instead of the preview button, and it seems the links got broken, feel free to delete the comment above, here it is again, fixed:

Not only is the jury still out, the court isn't even in session. There's a lot more to Dov Charney and American Apparel than some would have you believe. I work for American Apparel and I'm tired of seeing my boss dragged through the mud unfairly due to innaccuracies and bias. I'm tired of seeing the hard working women at American Apparel marginalized by self-righteous, self-appointed guardians of our virtue. If you are really interested in the whole AA story, you'd be intellectually honest enough to read and occasionally cite some of the other press as well, at least for the sake of balance. As always, anyone is always welcome to come down to the factory and see first hand how things are run.

Here's and profile-article from Inc.com of Dov Charney as a revolutionary, visionary business man

An article from the Seattle Times about how American Apparel stores assist in urban redevelopment by reviving run down areas when their stores move in.

"Dov Charney, Always Bad for the Jews" by Gawker on his Kitchy sense of humor in advertising

A follow up interview about Dov Charney's Bar Mitzvah and adolescent boyhood.

An article from Gay.com on how Dov Charney might be creating the future of fashion.

propositioning that Dov Charney may be a mentch after all

A blog that says the primary plaintiff against Charney is lying.

What actually went down with Dov Charney and the Union drive. What the union doesn't want you to know.

These and other readily available articles and comments ought to earn Mr. Charney at least the benefit of the doubt with respect to the pending lawsuits and the reputation as a union buster.

Hey ex-customer...did you hear ..."Judge Dismisses Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against American Apparel" on November 7, 2005.

That's the beauty of living in America...you get a fair trial....and if your proven innocent....well your innocent.

Maybe you should take a lesson in life and learn not to pre-judge another human being. One day you just might find yourself on the other side of the fence.

LOVE THE BRAND THAT'S TAKING CARE OF AMERICA

- A dedicated and satisfied aa customer.....

JUDGE DISMISSES SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAWSUIT AGAINST AMERICAN APPAREL
No Further Legal Action in the Case Will be Allowed; Plaintiff Receives No Money

November 7, 2005

Los Angeles (CA)-American Apparel, the Los Angeles based apparel company and largest T-shirt manufacturer in the U.S., today announced the dismissal of a sexual harassment lawsuit that had been recently filed against the company. A United States Federal District Court Judge entered the order in favor of American Apparel on November 3, 2005, dismissing with prejudice the case brought by a former employee. This ruling marks the end of one of three sexual harassment lawsuits brought against American Apparel.

In this case a former store manager who had worked for American Apparel only two and a half months claimed that she was exposed to a hostile work environment, in part because of a collage of vintage Penthouse magazine covers used to decorate the store. The company stated that vintage magazine covers (which included Playgirl and news magazines such as Life and Look), were art and fashion artifacts - a celebration of sexuality, pop culture and kitsch from the 70's and 80's.

The plaintiff elected to permanently dismiss her case without receiving any compensation. Presiding Judge Der-Yeghiyan agreed, ruled that dismissing the case was proper and entered an order which provides that American Apparel pay nothing to the plaintiff.

"The voluntary dismissal of this case by the plaintiff for no money is something we don't normally see in our litigious society. This swift dismissal vindicates American Apparel," said Joyce Crucillo, lead counsel for American Apparel. "The company hopes to resolve the remaining cases very soon."

American Apparel is one of the world's fastest growing clothing brands aimed at contemporary young adults. It has gained attention as an innovative and socially responsible business led by its high profile, forward looking and sometimes colorful CEO, company founder Dov Charney. The vertically integrated manufacturer, distributor and retailer creates T-shirts and related products that are known for their high quality and extraordinary fit. All garments are cut and sewn at an 800,000 square foot facility in downtown Los Angeles, where the company runs the largest garment factory in the United States and is the highest paying employer of garment workers in the world. The company also does its own knitting and dying in its two textile facilities in Los Angeles. There are currently over 4,500 American Apparel employees worldwide.

American Apparel has more than 50 retail locations in the United States and 30 internationally in 10 countries. The company takes great pride in making every effort to providing a unique and progressive work environment to all its employees worldwide.

Why can't I find anything about "JUDGE DISMISSES SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAWSUIT AGAINST AMERICAN APPAREL"?

What is the original source for the "JUDGE DISMISSES SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAWSUIT AGAINST AMERICAN APPAREL" article?

Just in case any of you were wondering why the "Judge Dismisses Sexual Harassment Lawsuit against American Apparel" "article" posted on Business Wire reads like an ad for the company:

http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/index.jsp?epi_menuItemID=2773f616199c2cdf3126a365c6908a0c

Business Wire disseminates full-text news announcements from thousands of companies and organizations worldwide (our members) to news media, financial markets, disclosure systems, investors, information web sites, databases and other audiences...

Business Wire's worldwide team of experts has built the most comprehensive news network ever assembled. With access to more than 60 leading news agencies throughout the world in addition to our proprietary network technology, Business Wire ensures that news is delivered to audiences in each market via their preferred manner and in their preferred language.

Our members direct where they want their news disseminated, specifying the geographic markets, industry audiences and editorial desks most appropriate for the announcements.

Our network delivers news simultaneously and in real-time directly into the newsroom editorial systems at newspapers, wire services, television and radio programs, magazines and online news services. Journalists rely on the Business Wire file as they plan their news coverage. In addition, full-text news is placed into the news systems of leading Internet portals, financial and research databases, news and information sites, and content syndicates.


NOTE: "This ruling marks the end of ONE of THREE sexual harassment lawsuits brought against American Apparel."

Just in case any of you were wondering why the "Judge Dismisses Sexual Harassment Lawsuit against American Apparel" "article" posted on Business Wire reads like an ad for the company:

http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/index.jsp?epi_menuItemID=2773f616199c2cdf3126a365c6908a0c

Business Wire disseminates full-text news announcements from thousands of companies and organizations worldwide (our members) to news media, financial markets, disclosure systems, investors, information web sites, databases and other audiences...

Business Wire's worldwide team of experts has built the most comprehensive news network ever assembled. With access to more than 60 leading news agencies throughout the world in addition to our proprietary network technology, Business Wire ensures that news is delivered to audiences in each market via their preferred manner and in their preferred language.

Our members direct where they want their news disseminated, specifying the geographic markets, industry audiences and editorial desks most appropriate for the announcements.

Our network delivers news simultaneously and in real-time directly into the newsroom editorial systems at newspapers, wire services, television and radio programs, magazines and online news services. Journalists rely on the Business Wire file as they plan their news coverage. In addition, full-text news is placed into the news systems of leading Internet portals, financial and research databases, news and information sites, and content syndicates.


NOTE: "This ruling marks the end of ONE of THREE sexual harassment lawsuits brought against American Apparel."

Also, why was my initial post removed?

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