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Dov Charney scandal

American Apparel

I'm a little bit late to the fair with this one. But apparently there was a scandal last year involving Dov Charney, the founder and at the time the CEO of American Apparel. There were lots of allegations of misconduct against him., compiled by the chairperson of the board, Colleen Brown preparatory to firing him.

Harper's includes an excerpt from Brown's report in its Readings section  in the October issue, without further comment. So will I. This is an excerpt of the excerpt, which does nonetheless manage to give a sense of the degree to which power corrupts (or attracts the already corrupt).

"Former American Apparel employee Michael Bumbliss, who managed the Malibu retail store, alleged that Charney  'dove at [him], grabbed [his] throat, with both hands,  and began to squeeze.' Charney 'proceeded to scoop up and attempt to rub dirt on [Bumbliss' face.' Employees at the company's La Mirada facility lodged complaints after Charney repeatedly referred to Filipino employees as 'Filipino pigs' and threatened to fire them. A female employee sent an email to Charney complaining about Charney's conduct: 'First, don't ever, ever hit or slap me in the face again. Don't call me a slut, whore, slave, or bitch.' A female employee sent an email stating  that she was concerned about her future with the company because Charney 'told [the employee] he can get a younger girl that can suck him and fuck him and pay her a lot less.'"

Something not mentioned by Harper's: Under ghastly Charney, American Apparel sought a reputation as a socially conscious corporation, describing itself as "sweatshop free: and indeed claiming to have the "highest earning apparel workers in the world." It could do this and maintain profit margins by virtue of a high degree of vertical integration.

Should AA have been getting past the filters of the SRI crowd, or getting stuck in the fibers somewhere?


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