The Drama of Dov Charney's Sexual Harassment Lawsuits

These days American Apparel seems to be more known for the personal life of its slimy CEO Dov Charney than for the hipster uniforms they sell. This is partially because of a lawsuit that was filed earlier this month in which a former employee named Irene Morales sued Charney for a quarter of a billion dollars, alleging that he forced her to perform sexual acts on him and caused her to have a severe emotional breakdown. On March 24th, another sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against Charney by a former American Apparel employee named Kimbra Lo, who appeared on the Today show and described him as a sexual predator.

Accusations of Charney preying on young girls came as little surprise. People first became aware of his questionable behavior after a controversial Jane magazine profile ran in 2004  in which Charney pleasured himself in front of journalist Claudine Ko, and admitted to having sexual relationships with his staff. Ko details the disturbing masturbation incident:

“Are you going to do it again?” I ask.

“Can I?” he says, adjusting himself in his chair.

And thus begins another compulsive episode of what Dov likes to call self pleasure, during which we casually carry on our interview, discussing things like business models, hiring practices and the stupidity of focus groups.

“Masturbation in front of women is underrated,” Dov explains to me later over the phone. “It’s much easier on the woman. She gets to watch, it’s a sensual experience that doesn’t involve a man violating a woman, yet once the man has his release, it’s over and you can talk to the guy.” And, Iris adds on another day, “I think it’s really healthy to have an orgasm four times a day. It’s got to be great for business.”

Yikes! Since the Jane exposé, Charney has come under fire for both American Apparel’s sexually explicit advertisements and his disgusting hiring practices. According to a contract new employees are required to sign, impeccable eyebrow grooming and capturing a  “Classy-Vintage-Chique-Late 80’s-Early 90’s-Ralph Lauren-Vogue-Nautical-High-end brand” aesthetic are just two of the things required of its workers. Also, “classy black girls” are the only kind of black girls the company will hire. They really don’t like trashy ones, you know?

Given Dov’s overall suckiness as a human being, the allegations of him being a rapist seem to make perfect sense, right? Unfortunately, a slew of photographs and emails between Morales and Charney have been leaked to media outlets and subsequently put Morales’ credibility into question. The emails show Morales not as a girl who has been victimized by the powerful Charney, but as someone who’s bent on getting his attention in order to obtain a job. Her text messages contradict some of the very claims she has made in her case against him. For example, Morales has said that Charney gave her a large dildo and “induced” her to come to his home and subject herself to hours of “psychological torment.” In reality, Morales sent Charney a text saying, “I bought a fat dildo.” Other messages show Morales begging him for a job, money and clothes, saying she’ll give him “delicious blowjobs” in return. Oopsie daisies!

If Morales is in fact lying about Charney, she’s not only fucking over herself, she’s potentially screwing over the girls who actually have been coerced into having sex with him. If they were afraid to speak up before, the likelihood of them coming forth now is slim to none. By revealing herself to be a woman with a v for vendetta, she’s making Charney look like someone who has been unfairly vilified by the press—something I don’t actually believe to be true. Regardless of whether or not Morales is telling the truth, Charney has been proven himself to be an unethical person with inappropriate relationships with his female employees. I don’t doubt that he actually has pressured girls into having sex. If he’s proven innocent, however, Dov might be getting off the hook for his pervy behavior for good. TC mark

image – Dov Charney

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

Related

More From Thought Catalog

  • &c.

    seems bleak

    • http://twitter.com/straponheart Evan Hatch

      goddamn you

  • Jem

    I don't necessarily doubt all of these allegations, but at the same time I feel like at this point he is being sued by any past employee because it has become so easy to vilify him.
    Certain details of some of the recent claims seem sketchy and are now becoming a sort of he said-she said situation as opposed to having any factual ground.
    To be honest, the four recent lawsuits are looking shitty for the four women with all of the photos and emails that are being leaked..WHO KNOWS.

  • mattcornell

    Look, the bottom line is that Dov Charney shouldn't be fucking his employees. He shouldn't be basing hiring decisions on who he wants to fuck. He shouldn't be giving out vibrators to employees as gifts. He shouldn't be conducting meetings in his underwear. It's a hostile work environment. That's illegal, regardless of the credibility of Ms. Morales.

  • NoahTourjee

    That girl said “I will would lick your asshole clean” for a bunch American Apparel unitard trash?

  • Mmeng84

    Aaaaaahhh really? Seriously, are you just gonna paraphrase the Jezebel article and then slap on that bit at the end that Irene Morales may be a lying bitch? She was groomed by a predator starting when she was only 17! Nothing fucks you up like that! Part of that process is being stripped of your values until you suit the predator's fucked up fantasy.

    He masturbated in front of a reporter! What kind of sick person thinks that's okay? Well, a sexual predator like Dov Charney obviously. I hope Irene Morales wins her case.

  • candyyy

    I want to apply to work for Dov…

    just so I can bite his dick off

  • RebelYell

    Haters gonna hate! Read it & weep wanna be hipster scum

    http://irenemoralesphotos.blog… & http://www.kimbralo.blogspot.c

  • 2ci

    loolololol

    dov's the man, he was just born in the wrong decade. i see nothing wrong with any of this, besides woman suing for whatever they can because they are a bunch of Khoes who only want money

    FUCK KHOES
    GO DOV

    make that into shirt god dammit !

  • PERFECTCIRCLES

    I don't like this guy.

  • what

    These girls are just going to make it harder for women who were actually victimized. Also, if Dov Charney actually imprisoned a Morales, should he be sent to prison? Or is paying millions of dollars standard practice in sexual harassment lawsuits?

  • Joe

    I just got fired from American Apparel. I don't know about the circumstances of this affair, but I can add my voice to the already large list of people who have heard endless stories about our hiring policies that explicitly screen for girls who will sleep with Dov, how Dov will aggressively pursue girls at any position in the company, and how he's settled many a sexual harassment case out of court. If you work there then it's a given that Dov is sexually abusive.

    And for those hoping he'll get his comeuppance… Well the company had to make $50 million profit in one year for the investors. That's up $49 million from last years $1 million (due to recession, but still). In the last few weeks they've frozen pretty much any spending that doesn't directly relate to profit. Raises, clothing giveaways, staff competitions, etc are all gone. I think it's even possible they fired me simply so they can bring in a new employee who'll earn a dollar less per hour. No exaggeration. This company is scrambling for money that it just isn't going to make.

    What's my motivation for writing this? Honestly, I'm not bitter at the company for being fired. I think the reasons for it were stupid and it sucked to lose my job, but it's not that. I'm just frustrated by how successful such an inherently flawed company became.

    What flaws?

    -Allowing, if not encouraging, not only staff but customers to steal. I believe Dov once said that if customers could get away with stealing then they deserved the clothing, because it showed how badly they wanted it, and it was a reflection of the rebelllious/revolutionary attitude the company represents. Funny how your tune changed on that one once you had to find $50 million huh Dov?

    -Sexually harassing employees. Sure there's Dov, but this goes on at all levels of the company. Senior management would use the promise of hiring or promoting to gain sexual power over staff. Girls were chosen as models for their willingness to sleep with Dov. It wasn't too bad at my store, the closest it got was that at one point the two most senior staff were sleeping with each other. Do as I say, not as I do, doesn't work Dov.

    -Expanding our product line to absurd proportions. Lamé gold windbreakers? Pajama onesies? Sesame street tees? Ok the last ones were cool for a bit, but the fact that they're still in stores just shows how slow this company can be to move with the times.

    -Enormous wastage of clothing. This one pissed me off more than nearly anything else. So much for American Apparel's social conscious, the 'organic' and 'sustainable' clothing was pretty much just greenwashing. Yes it's great that we're halving the environmental damage that making a tshirt costs, but what's the point if we make twice as much as we need? The amount of clothing that was eventually sent back to the factory was astounding. Why the hell would you send us 25 pairs of XL neon green leggings when we sold one pair in the last month?! The fact that a significant portion of our winter items arrived in February and March is more proof of how slow this company is to get things moving.

    -Too many stores. This is a common complaint, and it's legit. In NYC and LA there are simply too many stores. Doesn't seem like it in LA because of reduced shipping costs and the company's ability to keep a tighter grip over how they're run, but it's true. And even if they are doing alright financially, it fucks up the rest of the company, as I mentioned in the last paragraph; because it means our resources are spread too thin. There's so few people in corporate that you could memorise their names in the time it's taken me to write this.

    There are numerous other things.

    Yes, American Apparel was actually not a bad place to work. And I had another job to fall back on once I was fired. But this company needs to go down. Not for the sake of my ego, but for the sake of capitalism.

blog comments powered by Disqus