Several things come to mind when discussing the American Apparel brand. Since the company’s humble beginning in 1991, the brand has been known for its plain fashions which sometimes defy practicality or tradition. As the company grew, it faced controversy over its racy advertising campaigns while drawing compliments for keeping the manufacturing of its products in the U.S. and paying workers high wages.
For better and worse, the name Dov Charney has always been synonymous with the American Apparel brand. Last week, members of the company’s board of directors took steps to oust the controversial CEO who started the company while he was still in college.
While Charney’s business prowess and success has widely been admired, his personality and reputation for being lewd and inappropriate have made him the target of many critics as well as several sexual harassment lawsuits.
In 2011, a young former American Apparel employee sued Charney for sexual harassment amid claims the CEO forced her to be his personal “sex slave”. The case was dismissed after Charney’s attorneys claimed the young woman sent sexually explicit photos of herself to Charney after she quit her job at the company. Recently, it was discovered that another American Apparel employee had been posting photographs and comments to a blog posing as the young woman. Members of the American Apparel board contend Charney knew of the employee’s actions and failed to intervene or take action to stop the employee.
Charney is no stranger to controversy as it’s reported that at least nine former employees filed lawsuits, all of which were dismissed or settled, accusing the former CEO of sexual harassment. As evidence of Charney’s highly inappropriate behavior, a video showing the former CEO dancing nude in front of two American Apparel employees surfaced just days after the board announced their decision to oust him.
In response to his sudden departure from the company he started and built, attorneys representing Charney insist he will soon file a wrongful termination lawsuit. We’ll continue to cover this case as additional information becomes known and lawsuits are filed.
Source: The Daily Mail, “‘Dirty’ American Apparel CEO will sue the company for ‘wrongful termination’ as sources close to him say the company’s move is strictly for financial reasons,” Alexandra Klausner and David Wilkes, June 23, 2014