America Apparel has announced that they are closing all of their stores. With this announcement, it brings to light its shadowy controversial history; including sexualizing child models, experiences of racism, and apparently accepting workers mainly based on attractive appearance.
But a controversy that especially angers me, along with many others, includes American Apparel’s ex-CEO Dov Charney. The list is infinitesimal for the number of offensive, inhuman, morally wrong and disgusting things he has done; but especially horrifying is the sheer magnitude of sexual harassment testimonies he’s been involved in.
After attempting to sue American Apparel for firing him, American Apparel released a series of shocking and damning evidence depicting the gross extent of Dov Charney’s inappropriate behavior.
I never spent a cent at American Apparel knowing that their founder and former CEO Dov Charney was a creep pic.twitter.com/ScGKmgAwqe
— NANA JIBRIL ? (@girlswithtoys) January 14, 2017
The evidence released exposes texts and emails Charney sent to employees while he was still with American Apparel. After many women came forward to file sexual assault and harassment cases against him, he even encouraged one of his employees to create fake blogs impersonating them in order to discredit their validity. To make matters even worse, Charney was found to have multiple pictures and videos of him “having sex” with models and retail employees, and stored these videos/pictures on company servers.
Furthermore, I put “having sex” in quotations because it is still disputed whether many of these cases were consensual or not.
Especially with Charney’s court case in 2011, where he was accused of raping a former employee multiple times, he is a sick predator with easy access to victims due to his role in the fashion industry.
The most troubling aspect is that American Apparel was aware of Dov Charney’s behavior for years upon years, but was stagnant in taking any critical action against him.
If that was the type of message they wanted to preach through their brand, then good riddance American Apparel.
Dov Charney is only one of many men in corporations who use their position to take advantage of women, but with the demise of American Apparel and the exposure of these lewd and appalling evidence, I can only hope that no one else becomes victimized by this monster. Fear is an emotion that silences victims and allows alarming behavior like this to continue, but with Charney’s behavior brought to attention it cultivates a wider awareness against leaders like him. It fuels an important and necessary conversation about respect in the workplace, and respect towards our fellow women.
American Apparel had a dying business platform, but its leadership and lack of accountability by Dov Charney points to an even deeper issue the brand was facing. It was a deep-rooted issue of misogyny, silencing victims, and enabling destructive and damaging behavior that truly eventually brought about their termination.
Good riddance, American Apparel.