UPDATE: Has a Blogger ever fisked himself? Well, I think I just might have to. Why? Because in my rush to be all snarky and ironical, I may have actually been unfair and even (gasp!) innaccurate about Dov Charney. As a testament to my shame, I will leave the original post up and follow up with a self-fisking of unprecedented severity. Please read to the very bottom of this post. My updated comments about Dov Charney will follow (June 27, 2005). I feel I need to do this given the massive number of Web sites that link to this particular post as well as some of the totally off the register things people have been saying in response to Charney’s transparency and honesty about his interests.

Original Post:
Ya know, they say “information is power.” Well, sometimes it’s a curse. When you run a Web site and have access to your log files, and you know what to do with them, you get a wealth of information about your visitors.

My name is ck, and I am an Information junkie.

I run my logs through 2 log analyzers, I look through my referers 3 different ways. I’m a total nutbar that way. There’s no real reason to do it. I just want to know stuff. So what have I learnt recently? I have learnt that way too many people want to know about Dov Charney(founder of American Apparel) and an article that appeared about him in the July issue of Jane magazine. I mentioned the article as a total aside in a post I wrote about the whole coolness and Judaism thing (I tend to digress a lot). Somehow this teeny little mention put Jewlicious near the top of search results on both google (no. 7) and yahoo (no. 1) .

Here’s some basic information. Dov Charney runs a t-shirt company called American Apparel. They wholesale and retail a line of t-shirts that use a finer type of cotton, resulting in a more form fitting and softer product. American Apparel t-shirts are also heavily advertised as being sweat shop free, and in fact American Apparel employees work in comparatively great conditions, getting paid significantly more than minimum wage and other benefits that include free massages, subsidized lunches, english language courses etc. Charney’s t-shirts are favored by many DIY hipster outfits, for instance (amongst the Jews) Jewcy, Jewschool, Jewish Fashion Conspiracy and on and on. All of this was discussed in the Jane Magazine article.

Pretty banal so far, right? Well, why does everyone want to know about this particular article?

Offensive?Well, because Dov Charney likes to masturbate. A lot. In front of women. And female reporters. He also has no problem walking around nude or covered by just a small towel. He also likes taking pictures of his scantily clad models. Oh… and he’s slept with his employees. He’s pretty up front about his peculiar predilections – some of the articles reproduced on the American Apparel Web site reflect his unusual behavior. As far as I know, he’s never forced anyone to do anything they didn’t want to do. In interviews, his employees describe an employer who is somewhat unusual and a little manic but who is passionate about running an ethical AND successful business. Well ethical in so far as he treats his workers. Perhaps not so ethical with regards to potentially sticky sexual harassment situations.

I bought the issue of Jane Magazine in question. Yes, Dov masturbated in front of reporter Claudine Ko. And he did other stuff. Here are the relevant passages, since Jane Magazine is not available on-line (nor has the article been reproduced on the American Apparel Press page):

Offensive?Ko goes out with Charney and an unamed female employee:

I asked him how he relaxed. Oral sex he says, settling into a chair behind a cloud of smoke. “I love it … I am a bit of a dirty guy, but people like that right now.”

Explaining exactly how the rest of the night unraveled is somewhat difficult. Let’s just say, the female employee helped him “put on a show” for me. I watched, trying to be objective, detached – sorta like a … war reporter?

Ko goes to Charney’s pad late one evening for an interview session:

Soon enough he loosens his Pierre Cardin belt.
“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.”

Ko claims that in the month she spent with Charney, she watched him pleasure himslef eight or so times. She ends the article by describing how she leaves Charney in New York, interview completed, and hails a cab. “Then as I step into the depths of the backseat, I realize I don’t want this trip to end just yet.”

So there you have it. All you people visiting Jewlicious from New York, LA, Philadelphia, Slovenia (yes, Slovenia) and Morgan Stanley looking to get the skinny on the Jane Magazine article now have it.

Not so offensive?I’ve done business with Charney’s company before (when it was called American Heavy and based out of Montreal and North Carolina) and dealt with his warehouse guy Nimal. He was cool, and I have no complaints. I have an acquaintance in Montreal who worked for Charney and now wishes he were dead, but she tends to be a little melodramatic and wouldn’t give me any dirt. I know there’s been some criticism online and I guess it remains to be seen what effect these stories will have on the company’s bottom line. Bottom line, I have no doubt that his workers love him and that he treats them well. He has many women working for him in management positions and I am pretty sure he can’t be sleeping with them all. If I were his attorney I’d advise him to take it easy though. That having been said, I find it odd that Americans get all wound up about a guy masturbating but have no problem, or pay little attention to the economic injustices that go hand in hand with their consumer oriented society.

As I have noted in the previous blog, props go out to Mireille Silcoff who was actually one of the first to run a story on Charney that discussed his whacky ways. I’ll reproduce it here if anyone asks because it too is unavailable online. Otherwise here are some links that you all can follow that will fill you in on post-Jane Magazine reactions to American Apparel:

Koshi (see the June 5th Blog entry)

Get Underground: Uh… just read it.

brandchannel.com – They seem to like American Apparel, but they definitely do not like Dov Charney

A well balanced New York Times Piece (requires free registration – also available here). See also New York Times Magazine Article titled Conscience Undercover, available here.

Beaver Power! Is badly executed imitation still the sincerest form of flattery?

UPDATE Dov Charney as a Jewlicious Philanthropist: Dov buys laptops for an Arab kid and his partner in Tel Aviv because they won a History of Zionism contest.

NEW San Francisco Chronicle on American Apparel.

Inc. article on Dov Charney

Gladwell’s New Yorker article on Charney

Verve newsletter on Charney.

Dov Charney interview on 20/20.

Ok. I have Dov Charney coming out of my ears now (shutup!). Maspik.

And now it’s time for Dov Charney reconsidered
See, I was reading this article in the July 2005 Details Magazine about the Chairman of the Republican National Committee Ken Mehlman. He was all hyped up about how the Republican Party was going to make inroads into non-traditional Republican sectors, like latinos and youth. Now, its no big secret that I am no Republican – I like my nationalized Canadian Health Care, I like my government subsidized universities and the notion of privatizing social security scares the heck out of me.

I’m not opposed to family values or religion or anything like that – but I do resent hypocrisy and I further resent the notion that if you don’t follow a certain political path you are neccessarily immoral. So as I was reading the article and the RNCs plans, I wondered if perhaps I myself had bought into this whole notion of false puritanism – you know the kind that allows children to interact with violent television and video games but blanches at any mention of sexuality.

Case in point is this post. I wrote the following:

Well, because Dov Charney likes to masturbate. A lot. In front of women. And female reporters. He also has no problem walking around nude or covered by just a small towel. He also likes taking pictures of his scantily clad models. Oh… and he’s slept with his employees.

So Dov Charney likes to masturbate. And some of his fully consensual encounters have involved masturbating in front of a woman. As for the walking around nude part, I should have mentioned that this too is totally normal and he does this in the privacy of his own home (shocker!). As far as the scantily clad models go, I was a bit unfair there too. His models are real women, unretouched by Photoshop and unscarred by plastic surgery or uh… bulimia. Compared to what one sees in Cosmo or any ad by Diesel, Victorias Secret, Agent Provocateur and any number of other fashion houses, Charney’s stuff is tame. Finally with respect to sleeping with his employees, this is where I hang my head in shame the most. I was so quick to judge and yet, when I think about it, pretty much every woman I have had a serious relationship with in the past 8 years is someone I met at work. What a shocker given that I spend almost 90% of my waking hours at work. Like Charney, I am also in an executive position and like Charney, I was always careful that everything I did was consensual. So what’s the big deal?

I also mentioned “female reporters.” All indications are that whatever happenned with Claudine Ko, the reporter who wrote the Jane Magazine article, was isolated and fully consensual. I spoke to Claudine and she haid this to say about Charney:

Whenever I see a picture of Dov I can’t help but smile and think fondly of him. That reporting experience was fun, engaging, stimulating and interesting. Dov Charney is a mad man and I like that.

Sorry, but that doesn’t sound sinister at all. Sounds like some folks had a good time together, a bit more than one usually has doing a story, and that was it. Charney was a bit revealing, maybe too revealing, but dudes – its not like he’s eating children or anything!

He’s pretty up front about his peculiar predilections – some of the articles reproduced on the American Apparel Web site reflect his unusual behavior. As far as I know, he’s never forced anyone to do anything they didn’t want to do. In interviews, his employees describe an employer who is somewhat unusual and a little manic but who is passionate about running an ethical AND successful business. Well ethical in so far as he treats his workers. Perhaps not so ethical with regards to potentially sticky sexual harassment situations.

The big deal I guess is that Charney is up front about how he is. What you see is what you get. Just because the chairman of GM for instance, doesn’t talk about how he wipes his butt or occassionally masturbates, doesn’t mean he doesn’t do it. So those of you who react in horror at Charney, I mean like, where do you work? In a monastery or something? For the Dalai Lama? Why do people feel the need to heap scorn upon a guy for being honest? Like I’ve said before, let he who has never masturbated throw the first stone.

Perhaps some of the criticism is due to Charney’s success. His clothing has this whole no-logo appeal, his choice of models threatens the modeling agency infrastructure (imagine being sexy without being over 6 feet tall and weighing under 105 pounds!) and his success at manufacturing garments in the US makes all those other comapnies who have relocated to the third world look like crap. American Apparel now has 55 stores, they produce a million garments a week and their stuff is unbearably sweet and oh so soft. Success breeds resentment and there seems to be no insignificant amount of resentment going around. And what’s it based on? A CEO being a little frank about his sexuality. No one gives Jean Paul Gaulthier or Dolce and Gabana this kind of hassle. But hey, they’re gay, and so that’s ok?

I dunno. I’m kind of embarassed. I have helped feed into this whole frenzy and it’s just wrong. Charney’s done some damned amazing things. He’s a shit disturber extraordinaire and the finished product is a good one – well paying manufacturing jobs in the US, a great finished product and a thought provoking pattern of activity. His Mom should be proud of him.

Follow me

About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • You ought to also look at this puff piece by Maxine Mendelsohn that appeared in Charney’s home town paper, the Montreal Gazette. Looks like her interview with him was done over the phone. Too bad she didn’t go interview him in LA – she seems like his type and perhaps the story would have been a little juicier!

  • You know what’s funny about your site Rachel? You sell a shirt called urban kvetch and there’s a pretty well known blog called urban kvetch. Now… which came first? I wonder…

  • Now that Jewlicious has branched out into t-shirts with Shmatas.com will you too be selling American Apparel product? It looks like American Apparel….

  • Dov Charney, Entrepreneur Of Self Love
    From today’s Times profile of American Apparel founder Dov Charney: “I think I was born a hustler,” said Mr. Charney,…

  • Man in his Carlsberg years leads youth revolution

    Quote from Charney:

    “Feminism is extremely restrictive. You can’t call a woman a bitch, you can’t call her this, you can’t call her that. But that’s what life’s really like. Yet she can do whatever she wants. It’s out of balance and that’s why young people haven’t embraced feminism, because it’s out of balance.”
    Charney appreciates the professional contributions of women: “I don’t want to be paraded around like I’m trying to demean women. That’s not my point. I love women. I care for women. They make great contributions to American Apparel.”

    He loves them? When he’s calling them bitches, right? Oh yeah, feel the love.

  • The Young Garmentos


    It was not, as Dov was the first to admit, an ideal location, with the possible exception that it was just two blocks from the Playpen, the neighborhood strip bar, which made it awfully convenient whenever he decided to conduct a fitting. “Big companies tend to hire fitting models at a hundred bucks an hour,” Dov explained recently as he headed over to the Playpen to test some of his new T-shirts. “But they only give you one look. At a strip bar, you get a cross- section of chicks. You’ve got big chicks, little chicks, big-assed chicks, little-assed chicks, chicks with big tits, and chicks with little tits. You couldn’t ask for a better place to fit a shirt.”

    Why doesn’t he go to test American Apparel’s underwear on male models?

    This guy may not be exploiting sweatshop labor, but he sure is sexually exploiting the women who work for him.

  • I do not know who you are “Not Your Bitch” but I am assuming you’re definitely NOT the President of the LES chapter of the Dov Charney fan club, right?

  • american apparel-C/d?
    No one has brought up that interview he (the owner, Dov Charney) gave in Jane magazine where he jerked off in front of the interviewer. Seeing as it was ok by her, I can’t see reason to be too upset for some reason. I can’t find the whole article o…

  • Actually, we have brought it up, you just haven’t been searching our site carefully enough. 😉

  • Uh… yikes. OK. Thanks for that searing but heartfelt assessment. I hope Charney’s lawyers don’t call …. cuz I’ll be in Israel! Yay!

  • I have to say that I cannot believe what legs this story has. I do not know what the fascination with Charney is. We are constantly getting hits, on a daily basis, from people looking for information on him on the Web. This post has been cited on message boards, other blogs, articles etc. Granted Dov Charney has made great strides with American Apparel over the years, the stores and the clothing are very popular. His innovative labor practices with respect to his employees are noteworthy. In an era where the American manufacturing base is rapidly eroding (to say the least) Charney’s accomplishments are remarkable.

    His sexual proclivities however are noteworthy only in their scope and in his candor. Every day, all across North America and the world, male bosses wield sexuality as a weapon against their female subordinates. Is the fascination with Charney due solely to his forthrightness – publicly admitting to and even reveling in something that is otherwise banal due to its commoness – or has he tapped into something else?

    We’re all aware of the notion that bad boys are sometimes considered attractive. Is that what this is? In this era of political correctness is it possible that an element of guilty pleasure is at play here? Above and beyond the reality of having to del with Charney on a daily basis, is the unusual interest in Charney due to the possibility that deep down, women want to be with him and men want to be like him? That’s kind of scary to contemplate.

  • I don’t mean this in a disparaging way, agirl, so please don’t be offended that I’m laughing at your distress.

    However, “reading your comment validated my every feeling since the momment i stepped into dov’s office and he handed me a vibrator….” has to be one of the funniest lines in Internet history. I can’t stop laughing.

  • people are fascinated by him true but the fact remains if you have any moral integrity you will know this guy is trouble. young women fall victim to him b/c they are impressionable but from an “older” womans prospective he makes you ill from the first moment you interact with him. he is ugly from the inside out do not be fooled by this man.

  • It’s very unlikely that Dov Charney will ever hand me a vibrator, so I doubt I will have occasion to succumb to his charms. Darn this unfair world.


  • Dov Charney is a fool. Not only is he a sexually deviant freak in the work place and everywhere else but he has now resorted to showing the world his homosexual side. What an idiot! I guess he and marketing/pr thought it would be an interesting statement to buy the inside back cover of a current mens gay mag called BUTT MAGAZINE. Obviously, whipping his dick out for his employees isn’t a big enough rush for this sex crazed maniac. The ad is of him sitting in a chair with his penis exposed and smoking a joint. Does he not realize that he is an ugly eyesore. The caption reads, “It’s here. Underwear for Men.” American Apparel. What ever. It would be nice if someone, somewhere would hang him by the balls. He and his supporters will have to answer to someone some day.

  • American Apparel: Trading sweatshops for sexism
    I first heard of American Apparel when I was started buying wholesale t-shirts to screen print on. I was excited by their politics and more than willing to pay a…

  • American Apparel: Trading sweatshops for sexism
    I first heard of American Apparel when I started buying wholesale t-shirts to screen print on. I was excited by their politics and more than willing to pay a little…

  • Q: Is Charney vocal about his religion? I mean, does it ever come up in the press, or mission statements or anything? It’s sad that we’re forced to admit “this guy makes jews look bad,” as Jewdith writes. I’m so sick of taking a communal fall for some shady Yid’s inability to keep the mouse in the house.

  • There are a bunch of articles on him… I live across the street from the Houston st store in NYC where he has a “company apartment” with a ping pong table… some months ago he realised he could just give the employees a digital camera and alcohol, and the results were pretty much the same as terry richardson. Just last week he was seen walking out of a rather dodgey massage spot with two female employees. Whats suprising is, all this attention seems to have had very little impact on his conduct.

  • What is this puritan BS? So the man enjoys his dong. He is also doing a great job of popularizing sweatshop free clothing as cool even for people who aren’t crunchy granola types. Why can’t people work up as much outrage about those who exploit and hurt others economically as we can about some one jizzing. If the chick wasn’t cool with him doing it, do you really think he wouldn’t have responded to a polite request to “put your doodle away?” Grow up people. And/or masterbate more.

    PS. As for the union thing – I think unions may UNFORTUNATELY be the wave of the past. Union’s just no longer have natural leverage in a world where it’s technologically possible to move production anywhere. Hope for the future lies in individual business people deciding to take personal responsibility for how they treat people. that is what Dov has done.

    PPS However, as a lady myself — I would like to see some sexy aa ads with men in it with aa undies barely covering their balls. maybe talk to the Sweet Action girls.

  • That’s a very interesting point of view, American Apparel employee… I mean madlogic. I also think if you’re going to pose as a woman, you should get their sexual fantasies right. Sexy abs on men, maybe. But, real women readers, how many of you really want to see ads with men’s “undies barely covering their balls?” Yuch.

  • Neil – the IP address shows that madlogic is from Louisiana, where I don’t believe AA has employees. Just giving you a heads up.

  • Ok, my apologies. But having been to New Orleans during Mardi Gras, I guess I now better understand the writer’s feeling that it’s OK to walk around with your private parts exposed.

  • *sigh*
    Dov Charney. Where do I begin? I’ll start backwards and work my way up ok?

    Aaron: Charney is vocal about his religion in private. He’s not particularly religious but he has been to Israel and did a Nahal program (with Michael Steinhardt’s son David Steinhardt).

    Jewdith: The man employs 5,000 people. Not only that but he treats his staff well, pays them well, gives them many awesome fringe benefits and is manufacturing in the US at a time when other Jewish and non-Jewish businessmen are decimating America’s manufacturing sector and setting up overseas to avoid not just unions but also environmental and employment regulations. So he’s opposed to unions. So what? My experience with unions, coming from a family where my dad wore a blue collar and was the shop steward, is still less than stellar. In this day and age, unions are not quite the workers saviors that they used to be and American Apparel is no Wallmart. I think Dov if anything, does us all proud.

    Angry: Well, what Dov did is not quite the usual thing for CEOs but then again most CEOs are boring little MBA fucks. You however, are a homophobic nutbar. Please STFU.

  • I used to work with Dov at AA….it’s an evil chaotic place but they do pay the warehouse workers much more than the average sewer gets in LA.
    He is a perv, he doesnt hide it, it’s a known fact….he fucks anyone he wants basically. Including the pre-teenish looking models and female employees that strike his fancy…I’m assuming they’re seduced by his “power” cause he aint cute.
    He’s kinda the dorky spazzy Heffner of the tshirt industry. It’s comical if anything…

  • Hey-
    Thanks for posting all this and doing fantastic research. I’ve been linking to your stuff and I appreciate that someone took the time to start this discussion.

  • Hi CK. I am doing research for a wiki entry on AA, and I seem to remember some negative comments about AA that had been here before but have since been removed. One is cited above, from “agirl” ? What happened to it, and could it possibly be restored?

  • Is he related to ISRAEL Charny (“How we can think the unthinkable?” Westview Press, l982.) If so, Israel must be turning over in his grave! We’ve come a VERY long way in terms of the relevance/importance of what passes for intelligent commentary on world events!!! Can/will we return to some sort of discussion of what is going on that is INTERESTING/INFORMATIVE and last but by no means least, IMPORTANT?!?!?!

  • OK, I’m all for expressing yourself and unashamed sexuality and a unique company culture etc. etc. but the 6/27/05 edition of Business Week includes an article (which I didn’t see mentioned above) about a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by three female former employees. Once his wacky corporate culture gives rise (ha ha) to lawsuits filed by women who felt a hostile work environment, it’s no longer cool. His employees are almost all low- or moderate-income (paying twice the minimum wage is GREAT but it doesn’t make people rich). Other manufacturing jobs in LA almost certainly pay less (it’s not as easy to leave a particularly well-paid job, is it??). Don’t tell me that he and his workers have equal power in the workplace! Neither what he did with the Jane reporter nor his ads bother me at all. But how he treats his employees REALLY bugs me.

  • Uh… I know it’s a civil lawsuit, but even then do we not have a presumption of innocence? Let’s just see how those trials pan out, no? And is one really supposed to get rich at a factory job? But once one HAS to work at a factory Job, getting paid double minimum wage, getting free transportation to work, free english lessons, free massages at work etc. etc. is pretty good. I mean, where do you get your coffee? Have you eaten at a diner recently? Have you purchased any products made in China? Shopped at WalMart?

    I am going to reserve judgement on Charney and his whacky ways, but you know America, it’s a very litigious society. Maybe those women have a case, maybe not – I’ll wait and see. But all indications are that Charney does not coerce people into having sex with him. I guess we’ll find out eventually.

  • Uh… I know it’s a civil lawsuit, but even then do we not have a presumption of innocence?

    No. The standard is preponderance of evidence. There’s no presumption of innocence or of guilt.

    As for the suit, it really doesn’t matter if all the employees who have sex with him do it voluntarily – those employees are not the only ones harassed by this behavior.

  • Nice response Jeff. You are correct. And since we have yet to see any evidence, there’s really no point pointing out the existence of an upcoming civil trial evidence of anything. I’m willing to wait and see what happens before I go crucifying some dude whose only sin, that i know of, is that he’s too frank and honest.

  • “So those of you who react in horror at Charney, I mean like, where do you work?”
    I work for the EEOC, and if the behavior mentioned above (some of which it sounds like he admits to doing) is true, it’s a problem–and a violation of the law. The problem with allowing sexual stuff to go on in a workplace is that those who are bothered by it don’t feel comfortable speaking up because it doesn’t seem like anyone else minds it. And the “serious relationship” you might have with someone you work with is very different than a manager masturbating in front of female employees (who happen to be his subordinates) who may not object (even if it’s unwelcome) because of the power imbalance. After all, if he’s the founder and senior partner for the company, who can you complain to?
    Up until today, I was a big fan of American Apparel. Now it kind of disgusts me.

  • Yo “d” is this you? If it is you’re pretty talented!

    Also, where was it that I or anyone reported that Charney or a manager at AA masturbated in front of employees at work? Cuz that’s definitely a new one.

  • The behavior doesn’t have to occur at work as long as there is an employer-employee relationship. And he is without a doubt in a management position. But you’re right–the passage above seems to refer to oral sex with an employee. Which is worse?

  • Well, based on phone calls I’ve had with Claudine Ko, the writer of the infamous article, the employee in question had a pre-existing relationship with Charney. Granted, what ensued was a tad kinkier most people are used to, and I question the wisdom of engaging in such activities in front of a reporter, there is simply no evidence at all, none, that there was any kind of coercion in any of the activities. To read some otherwise well meaning discussions on other blogs about all this, you would think that all women are vulnerable, weak minded idiots, easily manipulated into engaging in tasteless activities against their will. I mean seriously! What’s with the witch hunt here? It boggles the mind, really it does.

  • Wow, this is great news! I can jerk off in front of employees all I want as long as I pay them well.
    That’s graet to know.

    Seriously, if this guy was the standard CEO old fart and he did the shit they say he did, everyone would be on his case but he does pay more than minimum salary so that must make him a saint.

    Were gonna have to send Triumph the Insult dog after the Dov apoligists just like he went after the Jacko fans.

  • Finally people are starting to make sense. Thanks ck.
    I have spent some time looking into all of this hysteria only to find a bunch outlandish stories that make it seem that at the American Apparel factory, Charney spends his time walking down the halls jerking off with one hand and signing paychecks with the other. I know people who have worked for American Apparel and really enjoyed their time there, dealt with Charney every now and again and never was touched by anything besides his infectious energy about the company.
    Why don’t we spend time focusing on actual issues (poverty, aids, global warming, etc.) and not some dudes sex life that make our sex lives look a G-Rated version of the wonder years.

  • Helen,
    “Why don’t we spend time focusing on actual issues (poverty, aids, global warming, etc.) and not some dudes sex life that make our sex lives look a G-Rated version of the wonder years.”

    So I take it as a woman you don’t find sexual harassment and exploitation an “actual issue”? Interesting.

    You know people who have worked at American Apparel? Well, now you know me too, only I haven’t experience his “infectious energy about the company.” I did have a friend and former manager he continued to call a “faggot” until he quit. And another he fired because he had to go home to pay his last respects to a relative. And I don’t want to forget my co-workers he sexually propositioned and all the others he made lewd comments about. And my co-worker who got a lesson from Dov on how to be sexier—what to wear, how to pluck her eyebrows. And the times he’s walked into stores in his underwear, or in see-through clothing, or exposed himself. And the times he’s fired entire stores with no explanation. There was the manager and my friend he made do his dirty work and fire one of those stores, and when he saw her cry, he fired her too. And the illegal employees I saw work in my store—people who worked off the books and were not properly compensated. And the people forced to work over-time, and those who couldn’t because of school who were then fired. There were the unbelievable employees with spotless records who were fired because he didn’t like the way they looked. There were the female employees he took poloroids of and then asked for their home phone numbers. And all the people he’s intimidated and belittled with insults and threats—people like me. And his requests for young girls to sleep with. And the invitations to the corporate apartment. There was the time Dov commented on a female shopper by saying he could only think about “draping her p—- all over my bed”? Don’t forget the factory workers who he isolated and interrogated and threatened to deport if they attempted to join a union.

    I wonder how he would explain published quotes such as: “Feminism is extremely restrictive. You can’t call a woman a bitch, you can’t call her this, you can’t call her that.” Or: “Women initiate most domestic violence.”

    It’s strange that a woman such as yourself has such an intense interest in stopping other women from standing up against Dov Charney and the sexual harassment they’ve endured. I can’t say I’ve seen anything like that before.

  • Myself and other former American Apparel employees are speaking out. There’s way too much information to fit in here, so for anyone on MySpace, when you get the chance please check out our profile “UnAmerican Apparel.” We have a lot of links to news stories, details on the sexual harassment cases, as well as a beautiful resignation letter from a former manager. Thanks.

  • Helen,
    “Why don’t we spend time focusing on actual issues (poverty, aids, global warming, etc.) and not some dudes sex life that make our sex lives look a G-Rated version of the wonder years.”

    So I take it as a woman you don’t find sexual harassment and exploitation an “actual issue”? Interesting.

  • I wish our dear former employee would stand behind the post and the long list of slander and disclose his/her actual name. I am a current employee of American Apparel and I happened to be in the store where everything that is so falsely described here went down.
    Jeremy Cunningham, the employee in question was not fired because he “had to go home to pay his last respects to a relative.” Nobody at American Apparel would ever be fired for that. Dov is always understanding of all hard-working employees’ personal issues.
    The reason that Jeremy was fired was because he was a terrible store manager. He managed the store downstairs from Dov’s apartment, which gave him opportunity to deliver and make himself noticed while Dov was in town. Instead, he always came in looking distressed and with zero energy. If the leader of the store always looks like he has all the problems of the world resting on his shoulders how do you expect the sales people, who follow his example, to be enthusiastic about their job? Maybe he needed a dose of “Dov’s infectious energy.” Instead of making sure everything on the floor was running smoothly he would hide in the office all day. I realize there are many administrative tasks to be taken care of, but considering that at the time the store had more managers than sales people, I find it hard to believe that he was that swamped with office work. On the nights when people from in and out of town were staying at the store (sometimes as late as next morning) fixing the mess it had become, Jeremy who of all people should have been there, was always the first one out.
    He was annoyed when hard working employees would stay past their scheduled times to finish projects. However, instead of speaking with them he would unprofessionally mumble under his breath and call them over-achievers to other employees. Perhaps he was angry because their “over-achieving” made his own laziness more apparent?
    Jeremy was a lazy loser which is why he got fired. It really is awful that he lost a relative, but to flaunt around his sad violin story to gather some sympathy and make Dov look like a tyrant boss, is pathetic and seems very in character.
    Would you be so outraged if you were told to take out a piercing when applying for a job at a boutique in SoHo? Or having to ditch your every day clothes for a uniform at another company? Probably not. Business involves some theatrics. All companies have an image. American Apparel’s happens to be one of natural sexiness, so obviously the owner of the company expects his floor staff to exude that. If that involves not plucking your eyebrows into a pen line, is it really so absurd?
    He photographed and asked employees for their home phone numbers?! You’re joking me! That’s insane! Not only is an employee’s phone number a piece of information that is very accessible to the CEO of the company, but also, from my experience most store employees would LOVE to be asked to model, and that is the only reason for which I can see Dov asking them for their digits on a Polaroid.
    He made Margaret Berry fire the employees at the store because she was a manager. When was the last time you heard of a big company’s CEO doing the actual hiring and firing? It wasn’t his dirty work it was her job, albeit an unpleasant one, but still. And she was another negative, passive-aggressive lager with bad attitude. When I began working at the store after being an AA model the year before, she was condescending, unwelcoming and not at all helpful. She assumed that my previous involvement with the company meant that she couldn’t talk to me as a manager, when all I needed was some direction and for someone to show me the ropes. She was constantly bitching about her headaches, not feeling well, late hours and pretty much everything else. Give me a fucking break. She was unhappy and unlucky which is why she was given the boot.
    “Everyone” in the store wasn’t fired, a few good kids quit, and a few people from the old days are still here today, in higher positions and the store is doing better than it has done since it opened.
    There is also a long list of people who would be more than happy to discredit the sob stories of the disgruntled ex-employees who just can’t face the fact that they sucked and weren’t right for the store.
    No factory workers have been intimidated when trying to join a union. In fact, workers protested when union organizers made an appearance at the factory. And you never hear anyone from the factory complaining about this either, it’s always ungrateful, PC, upper class kids who for some reason are more concerned than the factory workers themselves. What garment workers get paid $13, have free transportation, health benefits and an array of unnecessary but great perks like free ESL lessons and massages during breaks. Dov has changed the lives of many people and I hate it how some overlook many of the great thing’s he has done for people and instead choose to concentrate on his sex life, which is irrelevant.
    Any of you who care enough to do your research will find out that the women suing Dov were never involved with him, he never made any physical passes at them or sexually propositioned them. He is being sued for using “lewd language” in their presence, which if you ask me is total bullshit. Do you really believe that in this day and age the word “pussy” is going to cause someone psychological damage? Please. It’s just another gold digger jumping at the opportunity to use Dov’s reputation to make a few bucks.
    The quote about feminism is taken completely out of context. Dov doesn’t hate women, or feminists for that matter. Strong, intelligent and beautiful women are the backbone of American Apparel, without them Dov’s company wouldn’t be what it is today. And anyone who thinks that a she-hater chauvinist who disrespects and humiliates women left and right would trust them with his multi-million dollar business, makes no sense.
    It is the narrow minded, backwards sexist, Andrea Dworkin following feminists that Dov has spoken out about, and if you ask me- a woman and pro-sex feminist- those women completely missed the whole point of the feminist movement and are actually more in the way of female sexual liberation than most men have ever been.
    UnAmericanApparel is more like “bitter, disgruntled ex-employees of American Apparel unite!”
    I’m just so tired of people from the sides always talking about how the models are exploited, (comment 11) how the girls in the stores are exploited. I can guarantee you that if you ask any of the girls in the ads- the only people who can actually answer that question- about their experience, you won’t hear a horror story. If the women pictured had a good time, were not uncomfortable and had a positive and fun experience, who are you to keep telling the world otherwise?!
    For comment 43, you may not believe that there is equality in the workforce and to some extent that is true and has to be that way, BUT I have spent late nights in the store doing things like folding t-shirts or cleaning up with Dov and I am sure that you cannot name another company of American Apparel’s stature where a thing like that would happen.
    Last but not least, comment 51, you’re missing a crucial point. It may not be ok to jerk off in front of an employee just because you pay her a little more than the next company. It is however ok to jerk off in front of her if she’s ok with it, and while you’re at it if you happen to pay her more too, then great!
    Everyone has their panties in a bunch over nothing. Dov may be a little more eccentric than your average guy but he’s really not doing anything that out of the ordinary, he just happens to be a little more in-your-face about it. He has no shame in his game and that’s what’s gotten people so goddamn excited.
    American Apparel is an amazing company and the good things that Dov has done for his workers and in the apparel industry far out-weigh the few mistakes he’s made. Unfortunately the haters are always louder than the fans.
    I love my job and I can assure you that far more people are having my experience than the one of the employees at UnAmericanApparel.
    The haters at UnAmericanApparel are putting in lots of time and effort, if only they would have tried half as hard when they were still at American Apparel maybe things would have turned out differently for them.
    The point of this rebuttal is to clear up any false charges made against American Apparel and Dov. I tried keeping my argument free of misquoted phrases, subjective opinion, and regurgitated crap.
    I would like to thank those of who used your time and energy to discuss this topic.
    Yours truly,
    American Apparel classic girl and current employee

  • Sona…are you the “classic girl” in the American Apparel photo gallery with Dov? The one in bed with him? The one that Dov told an employee at the now closed Waverly store that he was fucking? I think if you are a low-level sales associate making 10 bucks an hour and fucking the CEO, your opinion of American Apparel and it’s labor violations are a little skewed. How much money did you get to write that post? Were you as coked-up as you were the other day when you were writing it? It’s unbelievable that you are even capable of stringing together a coherent sentence…Sona Gevorkian. Your concern about the slander of Dov is an interesting one and will be proven in the courts since Gloria Allred is suing him for the sexual harassment of two women in Los Angeles. Gloria Allred, renowned attorney, not a Russian crack-whore who needs to fuck skanky CEO’s to pay the rent. How about this for slander…you…Sona Gevorkian are a drug-addicted prostitute.

  • Wow, I see the truth gets to you, huh? Though clueless and false, your arguments were at least semi-inteligent earlier. Now you’re just an emotional mess… guess I pressed the right buttons.
    And yet still no facts. I’m not Russian, I’m Armenian. I don’t do coke, I only smoke PCP, but just on the weekends so don’t hold it against me. And I don’t fuck skanky CEO’s to pay the rent, I work my ass off for it, around the clock. So if you ever want to come talk to me you know my name and where to find me.
    It’s funny when adult arguments turn into juvenile rock throwing. Hopefully your next post will have more than hearsay bullshit but I wouldn’t bet on it or anything.
    keep it jiggy

  • Just for the information of the viewers:
    1. Gloria Allred is not an active attorney on any of the pending cases involving Dov Charney or American Apparel.
    2. Remember, everything on this site is personal opinion. So like the “Russian crack-whore” and the nameless name-caller, all are bias.
    3. Also, nameless namecaller responsible for post 61, I think it is dangerous to begin discrediting peoples opinions based on there profession. Like the American Apparel ex-employees, crackheads have feelings to.

  • Dear Moscow-born, Aremenian Sona,
    We have all seen how hard you have worked your ass off for it. Keep up the good work. Didn’t Dov convince you to quit college to be his full-time whore? And isn’t that why you are estranged from your Aremenian parents living in Moscow? Or is that also hearsay? And isn’t your visa about to expire? Will you soon be working illegally in America for American Apparel or will you go back to Moscow? Maybe hide away in Dov’s native Toronto? Let me sum this up…you are an uneducated, illegal immigrant, who sells ass for money, working for American Apparel. Hearsay or not?

  • That’s a nice advantage you have attacking somebody anonymously. You wouldn’t happen to be the former employee who was called lazy?

  • Actually, I have never worked for American Apparel.
    Info on LA lawsuits is listed below. A WWD article stated that Gloria Allred is the attorney for the women suing Dov Charney. Look it up for yourself.

    Gloria Allred is representing Heather Pithie and Rebecca Brinegar
    info on Gloria Allred:web site gloriaallred.com
    Allred Maroko & Goldberg 6300 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1500 LA, CA 90048
    323 653-6530
    FAX 323 653-1660

    Keith A. Fink is representing Mary Nelson
    info on Keith A. Fink: Keith A. Fink Associates
    11500 W. Olympic Blvd.
    Los Angeles, CA 90064
    310 26800781

  • I’m not talking about the lawsuits. They will play themselves out and it’s not uncommon for lawyers to take on cases against companies with deep pockets – who are they going to sue, poor people?

    Sona posted under her own name and you didn’t. I don’t believe you’re not a former employee, although I concede you might be the person sleeping with a former employee. However, just as she showed courage and faith in her convictions about the people she lists – under her own name – in her post, you show cowardice and lack of conviction by attacking her anonymously. Frankly, it seems like exactly what she claims: sour grapes.

  • Gloria Allred? “renowned attorney?” Heh. Is that meant to be a good thing? Allred, nee Bloom, is a renowned publicity hound. I mean, seriously, she’s ridiculous.

    The hearsay that you are using in an open forum is irresponsible. I feel that it may be necessary to give you a little background check.
    Facts: Sona was born in Armenia. She has lived in Queens with her parents since she was eleven (i.e. she is not an “illegal immigrant.”) She goes to school for forensics(i.e. “uneducated”?)And she is a full time manager (i.e. “full-time whore”? It was a fashion shoot using sexual innuendo to sell product. Find me a clothing company that doesn’t use the same tactic and you will be my new personal hero.)
    Your fiction is creepy. But using the internet to withold who you are, way creepier.

  • Alix: I wouldn’t say No’s allegations are irresponsible – I mean its the Internet after all. But in the No vs. Sona slugfest, Sona has identified herself and laid the cards on the table. That makes her accountable and demonstrates an admirable measure of cojones and class. As far as no goes, he/she wrote “Aremenian” instead of Armenian, has already made factual errors and frankly – I don’t like your tone. You kiss yo Mama with that mouth?

    I score this round for Sona.

  • It should be possible for liberals to critique American Apparel without being labelled anti-sex or being lumped in with the puritans and Andrea Dworkins of the world. As a leftist, a feminist and a consumer of porn, I’ll attempt to explain my problems with American Apparel.


    There *is* a sweatshop at American Apparel. It’s just not in the factory. It’s in the retail stores! This is a rather brilliant move on Dov’s part. Workers in his factories get treated very well, and it’s entirely possible that they themselves resisted a union (though historically companies use every trick in the book to coerce their workers NOT to unionize.) It’s brilliant, because when CNN or some other news outfit does a profile on AA, it’s the production end of the business they’re scrutinizing, *NOT* the treatment of the retail staff. Factory workers typically have families to support, both in the US and in their home countries. They’re less likely to have a social safety net. Dov has wisely chosen to treat these people well and gets PR mileage out of doing so.

    It’s the mostly white, middle class kids who sell his wares that are getting the shaft! Generally these are folks who are still working their way through school. I imagine that many of them still get support from their parents, or carry other jobs. From all the anecdotal evidence, *these* are the workers that AA exploits. Complaints about people being hired illegally. Complaints about long overtime without pay. Being asked to go “the extra mile.” Being required to dress sexy. Submitting photos as a condition of employment. These are all exploitative labor practices. And they’re all happening in the company’s retail operations.


    Dov has rather shrewdly built a hip, progressive image for the company, which makes the job desirable. Perhaps his retail workers, many of whom are young, inexperienced, and no doubt unschooled in labor politics, find the idea of working for the company cool. Some of these women, by Dov’s own admission, end up sleeping with him. When you combine political idealism with a sexually-charged workplace, you’re creating a cult-like environment. No wonder so many firings and store closings end in rancor. It must be hard to go from “true believer” to disillusioned ex-employee overnight. I imagine that many of Dov’s defenders cling to their beliefs because noone wants to believe that they’ve been duped, or worse…quite literally and metaphorically fucked.


    And this brings me to my problem with AA’s advertising. Yes, the women all signed releases. Yes, they all agreed to be in the ads. Yes, everyone uses sex to sell products. But that doesn’t mean we can’t criticize what’s being fed to us! Doesn’t it strike anyone else as a bit unseemly to mix progressive political rhetoric with kiddie porn aesthetics?

    And why can’t we scrutinize Dov Charney’s sex life? His ads practically scream: “I just fucked this girl!” or “I am about to put my dick in this girl’s mouth!” The ads are confrontational. They invite us into Charney’s sex life. And certainly his remarks about feminism, sex harassment and domestic violence all seem to suggest a very retro sexist attitude toward women. Not exactly the “pro-sex” feminism that some would like us to find in the company’s image. It’s one thing to dress up a skinny young woman to look like a little girl and then take a grainy Terry Richardson-esque photo of her panties clinging to her camel toe. Quite another to bracket that photo with text proclaiming “American Apparel is capitalism working” or “Taking on the system one t-shirt at a time.”

    This is very crass marketing. It’s an attempt to sell us our leftist politics as a lifestyle choice. The message is the same old postmodern con job. They’re an “anti-brand” brand. How meaningless is that? Ever wonder what that “TM” in the corner of their logo means? It means they’re a brand. American Apparel’s advertising is designed to jam our political radar. It’s brilliant, really. But people should look beyond the “Is it porn?” debate. Yes, it’s porn. But it’s the worst kind of porn. It’s not an honest depiction of sexuality. Instead we’ve got images of exploitation (of actual retail staff) juxtaposed with text proudly proclaiming that the company doesn’t exploit its workers. What a mindfuck!

    Bottom line: American Apparel’s sweatshops are his retail stores. His exploited workers are the retail staff who, whether they realize it or not, are essentially signing up for “Girls Gone Wild” Vice Magazine style.

  • Living On The Edge At American Apparel


    “In May, he was sued by three women — all former American Apparel employees — who claim they were sexually harassed by him at work.” …

    “In their sexual harassment suits, two of the women accuse Charney of exposing himself to them. One claims he invited her to masturbate with him and that he ran business meetings at his Los Angeles home wearing close to nothing. Another says he asked her to hire young women with whom he could have sex, Asians preferred. All describe him using foul language in their presence, much of it demeaning to women.” …

    “…BusinessWeek spoke with seven former workers who say they were offended by what they called a highly sexual atmosphere at American Apparel. They told stories of senior managers who pursued sexual relationships with less senior colleagues and rewarded their favorites with promotions, company cars, and apartments. ‘It was a company built on lechery,’ says a former stock person. ‘I thought it was a male contemporary perspective on feminism, but it turns out to be just a gimmick,’ says another ex-employee. And another: ‘I made sure to stay away from the store when I knew [Charney] was coming into town. It’s not one person — he’s aiming for all women.'”

    More from the same article:

    “The stores’ white walls are dotted with product shots. …In case shoppers miss the message that American Apparel’s clothes are sexy, Charney sometimes pins up pages from 1970s Penthouse magazines.”

    Hello?! That alone should qualify for creating a hostile work environment. As should this:

    “Charney takes many of the photos himself, often using company employees as models as well as people he finds on the street. ‘Meet Melissa,’ reads one print ad, which pictures a comely brunette in a shower and a see-through shirt. ‘She won an unofficial wet T-shirt contest held at the American Apparel apartment in Montreal.’ (The company maintains a string of apartments in the U.S. and Canada to save money on hotel rooms.)”

    Are they running a business or an escort service for Dov Charney? And what, no wet underwear contests with his male employees? (insert eyes rolling in head)

  • American Apparel All Sweaty


    “And while AA does pay above average garment industry wages, it is essentially claiming something that could be said by almost any other clothing brand legitimately made in a developed nation. In fact, during AA’s infancy, ‘sweatshop free’ was never part of the brand’s promise. Then, AA press releases started carrying the subheading ‘Los Angeles Based Sweatshop Free T-Shirt And Apparel Company….’ It was a great sleight of hand and the media bought it hook, line and sinker.

    AA is fully aware that its sweatshop-free course is a zero-sum game in which it has no brand ownership (i.e., if all brands suddenly stopped using sweatshop labor, AA’s image would become irrelevant). Distancing itself from its sweatshop-free claims (no 2004 press releases have the above subheading), AA’s founder Dov Charney recently said, ‘I think [being sweatshop-free] is a secondary appeal and I’m getting a little bored with it myself. I’m de-emphasizing it’ (Los Angeles Business Journal, May 2004).

    The best part of AA’s socially responsible image is that it is really just a big red herring when it comes to the brand’s success. There are numerous clothing brands that identify themselves exclusively as sweatshop free or some such thing. Two notable ones are SweatX and No Sweat, neither of which boasts anything near AA’s success. (The SweatX online store was closed ‘temporarily’ at publication time.) It would be surprising to learn that even 25 percent of AA customers know about any sweatshop free stance. (In an non-scientific survey of acquaintances who own AA stuff, only one did.) So besides making a quality product (which many, many marginally successful brands also do) why is AA so popular?

    To look at an American Apparel catalog or ad is to look at the closest thing there is to amateur porn without it actually being amateur porn (though it may qualify as fetish photography and certainly flirts with being lecherously barely-legal). If Victoria’s Secret is the closest the apparel industry has to mainstream, overproduced, surgically-enhanced porn, then American Apparel is its raw, posed-to-not-look-posed, seemingly inexperienced but no-less-erotic amateur cousin. With emphasis on the prurience of voyeuristic reality, AA ads feature ‘real women’— sometimes in bathtubs or beds — but always in intimate conduct.”

  • SONA YOU ARE THE BUS DRIVER!!!! its kinda funny how this turned into a person attact against someone who is fuckin awesome, smart and hard working. NAMELESS=CLASSIC INTERNET FAG MOVE>>> WHAT?? ARE WE ON A GRAF SITE OR SOMETHING HAHAHA. You would all like to think that sona fucked Dov for her job, go ahead, it sounds so juicy i love it!!! Your lives are so boring that you have to talk shit about someone you dont know but I guess I would be doing the same thing if I got fired didnt have a job. haha anyway you guys are a bunch of haters that got fired because you sucked. I was a wintness you their lack of moral and company pride. these people are suppose to be leading and setting an example for the rest of the employee but how can they do such when they are traders and wasting their own time working for someone they dont respect the man they work for. So what if Dov went to the store in his underwear one morning, i mean he lives right above it and its his store he can do whatever the fuck he wants to. If you dont like your job then find another one you fuckin babies. No one forced you to work for a man you dont agree with or makes you feel weird. The people that were fired didnt have what it takes to work for and reprecent American Apparel AKA super fucking up tight. I recently went to the factory in downtown and it was fuckin amazing.Whoever wrote that comment about the factory worker being treatened by Dov if the joined union is totally misinformed. The workers didnt want to join union because it is pointless for them to pay a union fee every year when they already get full med and dental for free from american apparel. idiot. Dov rules and You kinda have to be a crazy guy to be in charge of so much. take it or leave it man.

  • I guess I missed something. What is so Jewish about this story that it made to Jewlicious.
    You know what, where is that guy that claimed earlier this week today that Jews (oh, Gary H) dont look outward trying to improve social justice etc. Here is one for you Gary – read this post!
    Next time you deceide not to give money to Jewish causes dont blame it on Jewlicious!

  • Hahahaha. I love it that only the people that are defending Dov, Christina and Sona, are the ones that have most likely slept with Dov. I don’t blame them for defending Dov. It’s understandable that Dov can seem pretty appealing to a young person when he’s offering you more money than you could ever make working retail anywhere else. The majority of AA employees are going to high school, college, or it’s their part time job and if you’re a pretty girl, you’re going to make a lot of money for doing retail. I mean, I believe/hope that these girls are going to regret the compromises they’ve made once they grow up a little, but for now, they’re doing what’s right for them. Gots to pay the bills. I don’t have any animosity towards Sona or Christina, even though I know them, I just have a problem with AA. I was with the company for quite awhile and have seen a lot of F’d up things happen in my time. Things that range from Dov getting the Mexicans in LA to protest the union when the Mexicans didn’t even know what they were protesting against to seeing Dov all coked up and calling people fogots. If the Mexican shirt makers really didn’t want a union, that’s one thing, but to hand someone a sign and protest something they have no clue about is another. You can defend AA all you want but when store walkouts aren’t uncommon, you have to believe something is up. The only reason that I’m keeping my name anonymous is that Dov is insane and I mean that literally. The man is crazy and I’m sure that if he ever finds out who’s posting this stuff, he’s going to try and make heir lives horrible. If you think I’m making this up, then you either haven’t worked for the company, don’t know Dov, or are sleeping with Dov.

  • AFE: As a former employee your objectivity is questionable as well, you know that right? Especially since you’re anonymous. But whatever, it’s all god – we’ll just put everything in the mixer and see what rises, eh?

    christina: just for the sake of accuracy, all AA staff have access to health insurance. They may, if they choose, pay $8 a week for health and dental – a pretty good deal which some, for some odd reason, do not take. Given that fact however, it’s no surprise that the workers would also choose not to unionize and pay union dues for a very intangible benefit – well a lot less tangible than health care, especially given that they are well paid and well treated compared to others in the industry.

    Just sayin’

    client: why is this in Jewlicious? Cuz Charney’s a Jew and he’s in the public eye. His uncle is also Moshe Safdie, world famous architect and the dude who, along with former Mayor of Jerusalem Teddy Kollek, did a lot of the urban planning of Jerusalem.

  • I just wanted to second that comment about Dov being crazy and THAT’S why we don’t all put our names here. I worked for AA, some other people on here worked for AA, and I know the non-AA worker on here going by “No.” If this were just about anything else, I’d slap my name on here in big bold capital letters, but if I did that here, Dov would probably show up at my front door the next day—why else would we be getting all this pressure to give our names? Here’s my name: Steven Johnson. What’s the difference to everyone else on this blog? Nothing. But it matters to those who intend on doing something (who knows what) when they find out exactly who is spilling the beans. Eh, I think I’ll just deal with the criticism of staying anonymous.

    Besides, once Gloria Allred gets done with Dov Charney, none of this arguing back and forth will be needed…he’ll be fuckin’ toast.

  • I think it’s interesting that most everyone in this case defending the guy has come forward with a name. Those criticizing AA and Charney aren’t.

  • To the american public:
    lets settle down and just speak the truth.
    I too can mention names and events and i still work there. I hate the company, its politics from day one. I decided to work for them to really for sure get my assurance that what they stand for is bullshit. Hasnt anyone noticed that on their adds they nolonger write “sweatshop free” hasnt anyone noticed it says now “vertically intergrated” well isnt funny how with in the past months a new factory has opened in Mexico (oh but Dov says only 30% of the garments are made there so really its still made in Downtown LA) why dont we ever hear about this factory in Mexico? and what the fuck is vertically intergrated…..
    “American Apparel is a vertically integrated manufacturer, distributor and retailer of T-shirts and related products. All of our garments are cut and sewn at our 800,000-square-foot facility in downtown Los Angeles.” take a look for your self on their own web page.

    People seem to look and be in awe at how he keeps his factory workers…why isnt anyone mentioning that its one english teacher for thousands of workers..

    also forget about the factory workers for second..why isnt his mission about the conjoined treatment of both factory workers and his workers in the stores, floor sales and stock people..the people who day for day needs to wear the uniform of AA clothing, and work for less than the factory workers get, and when a chance to make an extra buck arises (since we arent on commission)why dont we see it in our pay checks…where is the fairness WITHIN the store…why do people forget us.. yes we didnt make the clothing but we have to sell the clothing , we have to dress and put on this image and represent the company, all for what the fear that we might be fired because we arent sexy enough. I mean i dont see girls at Victoria Secrets wearing underwear in order to sell…

    Sex does sell but lets leave that to the advertising. Why must i feel that i need to look like those models on our walls in order to keep my job? Why should an owner of the company even have to ask you name and number (isnt that what the middle man is for anyway?)

    I have never heard of a company hiring with out looking at a resume. Yes i understand that people who work at McD’s (not to smash people who work there) but yes im sure they wont be getting a job at Chanel, becuase there is an image a company looks for but also experenice that is taking into account when someone is hired.

    I have met a woman in my store once that was a model during a convention in Las Vegas. She claims that when she was hired for 50 dollars and hour she didnt expect that things that Dov wanted from her. She didnt see to happy about that expereince, and im sure if you ask others..uh who this Lauren chick. The new poster girl (giant ad in LES, nipples shown in Broadway.. SAy HI to daddy i hear her parents werent that happy after Dov promised not to show the photos let alone publish them. Or was that part of the image of the store. She use to model for him a few years ago she told me… if that is true then she must of been really underage…whats with the underage girls DOV? the people he hires are all (maybe me including)girls and boys fresh out of high school woth out experience. And if its true that he sleeps with his employees, thats alot of underaged sex.
    Too bad sex sells and at AA you must sell sex to the owner to make your money.
    I have heard that Sona might quit her college 4.0 at the dream job of AA designer..is that going to be before or after Dov is done with you. You know we all grow old and no longer pre college age.

    There has been many excuses why Dov decided to fire people apparently in the UES stores it was because he doesnt want Part Time workers. okey.
    but the other day he closed down the Waverly Store and fired the employees there because they talk to much, or they dont have the right vibe.

    He fired a chick at Court Street Last week after giving the store an extra 250 shopping bonus and massages (and the chance to then write thank you letters to him.)What a nice guy.

    In the LES store apparently Sona was out of defalt the oldest employee because during the massive firing she was the last man standing (and one other;a guy)

    I meet girls everyday when i work at the store asking how can they model or how can they work here. And i tell them. I need to work but i dont need to be harassed, feed gifts and massages, looked over by employees flown from other countries and states who have been there just as long as i have, to feel that i have what it takes to love AA, and Dov Chaneys envisioned future.

    Erase what you have all see and heard about a company, its all a fad and soon with every fad be forgotten like the many before it.

    I dont write my name because Sona would tell on me (because he likes to send people to find out whos a real team player) and then i wont have a job and i wont be able to pay my bills. Im not ready to get fired just yet.
    And plus those defending DAv and kind of winning AA Love points. The more you prove to Dov that you live and breath the company the more bed time slots youll get. And thats job security.

    and this all relates to the jewish community because he is Jewish, plans to market the All Cotton Yamica.

    See you at work on Sunday!
    A.C.E and the Revolutions.

    please check out http://WWW.myspace.com and the UNAMERICAN APPAREL . or just look at American Apparel.net and make up your own mind.

    P.S Lauren Phoenix was a hired porn star who really love the AA socks. Hot damn.

    kill them with kindness.

  • Dear current employee. I’m 22 years old, I have my whole life to go back to school, and with my 4.0 which you so correctly mentioned, they’ll take me back. So don’t worry about me, girl.
    What baffles me though is why in the world you are staying with a company that you despise so much, get another job. It seems just a bit masochistic to suffer in a company just to prove to yourself that what they say they stand for is bullshit. move on, go to a place where you’re comfortable, get a job that makes you happy. if you are this miserable this place will give you wrinkles and then when the job requires it, you definitely won’t be able to look like the models on the walls (who by the way aren’t all that surreal looking since they are for the most part AA employees, but you know that right?)
    On a different note, since this is Jewlicious and all, it’s going to be RSA2005 the all cotton yarmulke not yamica.

  • CK-

    I’m not an employee or ex-employee of American Apparel, just an observer who’s been watching this issue unfold on your blog for several months now.

    I’m puzzled at your “Dov Reconsidered” stance. Whether Claudine Ko likes Dov Charney isn’t really the point. It’s clear that she consented to watching Dov engage in sex and to watching him masturbate. It’s also likely that all of the employees who have slept with Dov gave consent. If consent were our only measure of whether someone was a creep or not, we would probably find ourselves “consenting” to all sorts of degradations of the spirit. Democracy is a good example, since President Bush, duly elected by a majority also rules by our “consent.”

    The question is not whether Claudine Ko and Sona and other true believers find Dov a lovable, hairy hunk of raw charisma. It’s whether or not his company engages in illegal or unethical labor practices. All of the anecdotal evidence suggest that it does. And Dov’s remarks about feminism, domestic violence and sexual harassment are fair game for our analysis and criticism. Instead of asking whether Dov’s girls “consent” to sex with the boss, why not addresss the man’s stated philosophies, which are misogynist. Where you see a “blunt” or plain-speaking rebel, I see a garden variety sexist with style.

    And his advertising as I mentioned in an earlier post is an assault upon our political and aesthetic sensiblities. It’s supremely creepy.

    So, I’m curious why you’ve “reconsidered” this particlar creep. And also why you’ve chosen to dismiss the concerns of the disgruntled ex-employees. Does being an ex-employee *really* invalidate their remarks? Seems like the worst kind of ad hominem dismissal.

    And if they wish to remain anonymous because they fear retribution, why is that so bad?

    Frankly American Apparel bears many of the same characterisitics as an abusive cult. American Apparel looks like the Scientology of the fashion industry.

    As more evidence of discontent spills forth, I’m looking forward to your “Dov Reconsidered Reconsidered” post.

  • there is no factory in mexico here is evidence that your facts are skewed. 100 % of american apparel garments are cut and sewn in the downtown facotry. the company also knits most of its fabric in house facilities. the company has recently aquired a dye house and will be dying the fabric inhouse as well. you ovibiously know little about the company and at best you worked at one of the 60 retails store in america. why don’t you visit the facotry before talking so much. i did… i can arrange a tour for you just e mail me. the reason we don’t say sweatshop free anymore is because we believe the clothing can sell it self and we don’t need to push it for sales.
    and vertically integrated means that instead of outsourcing all over the world we control all aspects of our business on the seven floors of our factory. but you should have known that already being a long time employee. BY the WAY i was a former employee and i got another job because i didnt like my raise at american apparel but i still support the company and dov for what he is doing. working at the retail store wasnt good enough for me so i got a better job to pay the bills. You should too. oh and also i have never meet any under age girls that dov has slept with…. i mean they have all been at least 18. dont mess the law man.

  • i am just wondering why all these people care so much about who he sleeps with. if i was a rich dude with a sweet company i would be giving my honeys jobs too. i mean that kinda of makes sense to me and there is nothing against the law about it. i could see why these people are using it against him….. probably cuz they were never given the chance to sleep with the dude…

  • Ok, this is just getting to be plain stupid, I’m a long time employee for American Apparel and in all this years I have seen people’s envy at Dov’s persona, to all of you uninformed shitheads that just want to jump on the banwagon I say FUCK YOU!! and to the rest of you my apologies for the missuse of the english lenguage but it sickens me that people who has never set foot at the company and have not seen the way Dov cares about his employees and the strugle he lives to ensure jobs for almost 4000 people pisses me off, do they really know the truth, THIS IS AMERICA for god’s sake if you are a female this is the best place to live at for you have choices; some girls come here and find out he has a huge dick not to mention the chance of maybe become the “ONE” of one of the mavericks of the garment industry that they actually are the ones that come up to him, I have seen it, has abyone of you shitheads out there seen it? I know the truth to all of this and I’m not hidding from anyone who would like to really get informed e-mail me anytime and I can answer your questions or better yet come to the main office and experince the REAL American Apparel.

  • Vertically Integrated Culturejamming: What a long nick! Can I call you Dave instead? OK Dave. Let’s start with the creep issue. Dov is kind of unusual, to say the least. And to that I reply “So what?”

    Now let’s move on to more germaine matters. Illegal labor practices. Some people note that AA is against the unionization of their downtown LA factory. I think that’s not unusual – especially when pretty much everyone agrees that the employees in question are treated so well. Those in the pro AA camp also have their own claims – that the unionization drive was a cash grab that would not have helped the employees and that the union itself engaged in dishonest tactics when trying to sign up members. Who is right? I don’t know for sure but I do know that those employees are pretty happy – there’s even a huge waiting list of people hoping to be hired by AA.

    So again, you don’t like Dov. Do you like the owner of every establishment you deal with? And what’s with all this puritanism? Compared to what one sees in mainstream fashion mags, AA’s stuff is decidedly tame. I also like the fact that they use real people, men and women, as opposed to heavily photoshopped 15 year old Molodovian models.

    I’ve met AA employees. The cult designation may sound cool, but all I met were hard working folks with families. In light of that I think you’re being a bit unfair and perhaps a tad insulting? I mean you make these people out to be zombies or morons. What makes you so much smarter than them? What do you propose they do? Quit their good jobs and work for a real sweatshop? Or perhaps they can work for a vegetarian restaurant run by a lesbian couple whose politics and business practices meet your approval?

    Look, I know your sentiments come from a good place. But those civil trials have not yet been decided and we know how litigious Americans can be. I would simply urge you to try to be fair in your judgement and try to separate fact from conjecture. I did and that’s why I clarified my position. Is that cool Dave?

  • Unite has received close to 1 billion in ‘liquidated damages’ from companies that have sent jobs overseas, none of which is shared with its members. In fact labor violations occur as frequently, if not more often, in unionized shops than in no-unionized shops.”

  • The nonsense, personal attacks, hearsay etc. is just redundant and boring at this point.
    Creating this fictional uprising has become an obsession for these kids. Unable to discern fact from gossip, this group of ex-employees (and the men/women who love them) does not understand that outside of their upper-middle class existence there is a big, pink factory where thousands of people come to work everyday that have been given opportunities that would have never been available to them before American Apparel opened its doors.

    One myth that must be dispelled immediately is in regards to the anti-union stance of the company. I am an employee of the company. I work in the production department, which means that I deal directly with the sewing operators, cutting department, fabric inspectors, and quality control examiners. The majority of the factory workers are from Latin America and Asia and what I find so incredible is that the differences of culture and language become obsolete once you step inside that elevator every morning. Once we start our day, we are all there to do our jobs to the best of our ability. There is undeniable love for the company and to imply that the workers were not afforded the right to unionize is absurd.

    In 2003 there was a 15-day union drive organized by the Unite union. During that two week period Unite deceitfully obtained the contact information of American Apparel employees, told employees that Dov himself encouraged them to join, and conveniently forgot to let them know about the membership fees they would have to pay. Once the employees learned about this, they took it upon themselves to stage a demonstration asking that the Unite organization respect their choice to remain union-free. The decision that the workers came to was not a result of intimidation. Dov issued a personal statement that said that in no way would anyone be fired or intimidated if they supported the union. Flyers were posted at every time clock that reiterated that American Apparel recognized their right to unionize. It is both demeaning and extremely privileged to assume that the workers could only come to this conclusion by having been misled or bullied. You are basically saying that the factory workers are somehow not intelligent enough to educate themselves on the union issue and/or are not strong enough to stand up for what they believe is right.

    After this debacle took place, Unite was obviously embarrassed and rather than admit that the workers at American Apparel rejected their attempt to unionize because they are happy and provided for, Unite needed to save face. The story published on the ‘Behind the Label’ site attacked the working conditions at the factory and claimed that the workers were told they would lose their jobs if they had joined the union. Not only was this false, but the beginning of an obvious schemer campaign. What most people do not know is that this site is funded by Unite. These claims were manufactured to generate publicity and nothing more

    Unite has a history of corruption and their policies are abhorrent. The upper level “leaders” of the administration make upwards of $300,000 a year, whereas the Unite members salary averages $10-12,000 annually if they have stable 40 hour a week, 52 weeks a year employment. If you are familiar with the garment industry you know that it is nearly impossible to guarantee that type of schedule. The so-called health plan costs it offers its members cost $200 dollars a month, which is simply not an option on a take home monthly income of $800-$1000 on average. Oh and you are only given the opportunity to sign up for the health plan after 700 hours of work. There is also no limitation on the number of hours that you work because once you are a Unite member your work is contracted. Therefore, during peak seasons you could be looking at an 80-hour work week with no overtime pay. During the 90’s, 21 of Unite officials were indicted for taking bribes. It was reported by the Center for Economic and Social rights that Unite has received close to 1 billion in ‘liquidated damages’ from companies that have sent jobs overseas, none of which is shared with its members.

    So, if that isn’t enough reason to see why our workers passed on their invitation to join, I don’t know what is. The problem is that misinformed people are again only seeing the headline and not reading the story. Take the time to know your stuff. Come into the factory. I will personally set up a tour and interviews for those of you that want to speak to people who were at the company when all of this went down. It’s not always black and white. And it isn’t all about one man. When you attack the altruistic and humanistic intentions of the company make sure that you are not simply doing it because you disagree with the sexual politics of one person. There is a bigger picture and I am lucky to be a part of it everyday.

  • OH MY GOD!!!! I’m reading more of this and is just plain ignorance the only one that seems to be making sence is CK, I was involved on the Union drive and just so that people know the truth here it is. Unite got some of their people hired at the company so that they could play the ” some employees have called us to tell us about unfair treatment at AA” card, they used the fact that some employees don’t speak english or can’t even write to tell them different stories to make them sign petition cards, they told employees that the petitions were for the company not to take the business else where, they were told it was a petition for the driving licence bill here in California, they were told that Dov himself wanted them to sign, some of my coworkers and I actually talked to the people and explained them what was going on, there was an employee organized rally to let the union know they were not wanted specially after the tactics used to try to get in. They harresed people at their homes after work, call them on the phone and waited for them ouside the company, the Union was invited to the rally for a debate and did not show, a group of us met with some high ranked people from unite to explain them we were not against the union but wanted to remain union free their answer was WE WILL GET IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, they started to attack Dov and that only proves one thing, they think of us employees as ignorant, incapable of making our own decisions. Newsflash!!! We have a word here; How many garment companies do you know that have a well stablish HUMAN RESOURCES department? Think about that and don’t let this people with personal agendas do the thinking for you.

    CK whoever you are hopefully someday you can come and see the real deal. Thanks for your comments.

  • CK-

    There is a difference between “puritanism” and using one’s bullshit detector. As I stated in my earlier post, I don’t have a beef with porn. I like me some porn. But I don’t like sexual harassment. I don’t like corporations which openly sexually exploit their employees, while also trying to convince me of their leftist political bonafides. If I wanted to see the kind of crap that goes on at my local AA, I’d simply order up some jalapeno poppers at Hooters or take in a show at Cheetah’s. But all this talk about how socially-responsible AA is simply doesn’t sit well alongside Dov’s bizarre misogynist granstanding.

    You charitably call the man “kind of unusual” and “up front.” Let’s not mince words. The guy is a sexist creep. And AA’s ads and retail operation embody this creepiness.

    You think I’m being too judgemental or puritanical? Fair enough. But what do you make of remarks like “Women initiate most domestic violence.” How does that square with your personal politics?

    No, I don’t interrogate every CEO about his views or sex life before buying his product. But very few CEOs have gone to quite the trouble to invite me into their sex lives. AA’s ads are all over Los Angeles. On bus benches, the backs of every alt-weekly and even on my favorite websites. Also very few companies have gone to the lengths that AA has to convince me that buying their products is a socially-responsible lifestyle choice.

    Taken together: the creepy sexual stuff and the political mumbo jumbo, Dov is serving up a load of crap that deserves careful attention.

    And no, I don’t think all of the employees at AA are brainwashed cult members. If you read my earlier post, you’d see that I think the manufacturing side of the business appears to be run ethically. It’s the retail operation that looks like a cult. There’s a reason we’ll never see Alma Amaya (cutting dept.) and Angela Cruz (inspection dept.) in one of those sexy AA ads. They’re working for the part of the company which generates good PR for AA. Meanwhile his advertising and retail operation push the sexy hipster image to the company’s youth target market.

    I wouldn’t like to see your friends out of jobs. I’d like to see Dov clean up his act. Stop bombarding us with his bullshit ads and make his stores a comfortable place for women to work. That would be a smart move. Smart for Dov, smart for his business and good for all of us who care about building a world which doesn’t exploit anyone: whether they be Mexican factory workers or skinny white hipster girls. You’d get behind that, wouldn’t you?

  • I would like to modify an earlier comment, this is actually getting to be a display of ignorance and bitterness; let’s correct a couple of things: NO I’M NOT SLEEPING WITH DOV NOR AM I GETTING POINTS FOR THIS, there is no factory in Mexico, and what is it with the no name thing out of fear, so now not only do you think Dov is a perv but also a mafia godfather??????? get real, if you are not happy working for this company, QUIT, no one is holding you to stay, I know there is a long list of people wanting to be hired or maybe you just don’t have the skills to advance and are bitter about it. Fact is I have been here almost from the beggining I have seen this company grow and create jobs ( over 4000 of them) keeping the much needed business here in the states paying taxes other companies avoid by manufacturing out of the states, I have seen Dov donate garments and even money to different organizations, I have seen him help several employees in hard times including myself; I started working here almost by accident and started way on the bottom, very little education, I was given a chance to learn a skill just like lots of other people who like me had never touch a computer before. I think the “current employees” need to be brought in to the factory so they can feel what it actually is. Is funny that the people who is attacking Dov only worked for a short time and are pissed that they could not be a part of this dream that came true called American Apparel.
    One last comment for those current employees: Contact the Human Resources Dept at the main office before crying NO ONE CARES ABOUT US IN RETAIL, as a coworker and long time employee I’m sure any problem you may have will be taken care of by them, still not sure? If you really are concern about the situation EVERYONE knows you can e-mail Dov himself directly and he always responds to employee concerns; at least you still think he will put a mafia hit on you.

  • It’s strange to me that a guy like this, who comes up with a completely original and very cool idea… decent clothes, US manufacturing, takes care of it’s employees, etc… can’t come up with an original concept for his own fucking persona ?
    No. He simply has jumped on the bandwagon of legions of young men who have dedicated their entire style, persona, street cred, what have you…. to ripping off Terry Richardson.
    How pathetic.

  • Well if your going to email Dov why not call his cell phone then..i sure love it when he told me to call him im sure hell love it for you to call him….he’s such a pal. 1 213 xxx xxxx.

    Thank God for AA internet connections during lunch breaks.!

    Ed. Note: Sorry, but I decided to delete the phone number. I don’t think its a nice thing to do – we don’t post your IP address! However, if its ok with Dov, we’ll put it back up.

  • What a pitiful revolutionary you are, ACE. Our generation has been taught to protest anything at the drop of a hat. How about learning who it is you really will be hurting? The families who had positively been affected by American Apparel. The minorities that have been able to take their kids to a doctor and get proper care and attention. People oppressed so badly in their own country that they risked everything to come here.
    A lot of you are saying that it is the retail stores that are the sweatshops. You are out of your fucking minds. Wake up. If you can live off of an entry level retail employees salary, you are obviously fortunate enough to be getting some help from some other source. And that’s fine. I’ve gone to my parents for money and I am goddamn lucky that they have been able to help me out. But to liken your working conditions to that of a sweatshop makes me ill. You will never be able to sympathize with the plights of many of the factory workers at AA. I never will either. But I also know that not everything is relative. Not being able to pay your fucking Sidekick bill is not a tragedy. Grow up. Get over yourselves. And stop being so condescending. It’s as old as your passe-fashion mullets.
    It’s not attractive.

  • Awareness
    There is no explanation you can give that would explain away all
    the sufferings and evil and torture and destruction and hunger in the
    world! You’ll never explain it Jared. You can try gamely with your
    formulas, religious and otherwise, but you’ll never explain it. Because
    life is a mystery, which means your thinking mind cannot make sense out
    of it. For that you’ve got to wake up and then you’ll suddenly realize
    the illusion you’re living in, and that reality is not problematic, you
    are the problem. Why create more for yourself? 1+1= Jared.

    I react to you in a helpful way

  • It is unfortunate that so much focus has been put on Dov Charney’s personal life overlooking the major acheivements of his professional career. I have worked with Dov for over 12 years and have seen him go through thick and thin to emerge as CEO of one of the most successful, ethical and innovative apparel companies of our time. The exponential growth of the company has translated into employment for over 4,000 individuals who are all remunerated beyond our industry standards and for whom exceptional benefits and growth opportunities are offered.

    It is unfortunate that given the success of the founder, certain disgruntled employees will seek to exploit unfair media portrayals of Dov Charney to extort funds by fabricating their own fictitious experiences.

    I personally started as an entry level sales representative to become V.P. of Canadian operations today. Sexual harassment has taken on many different definitions over time. I know that anyone who knows Dov on a personal and professional basis for an extended period of time will come to understdand his persona and not take offense at his unique behaviours, none of which can fall under any realistic definitions of sexual harassment. Call him manic,unorthodox, eccentric, even outragious but his behaviours are neither exploitative nor abusive.

  • Just reading the articles in the New York Times has made me not want to buy American Apparel.

  • Hi, I’m TM from Jewlicious (your link above). I have to admit that as I’ve learned more about the company and its employees, I am saddened that our site plays a role in this controversy.

    Ultimately, Charney has been doing something that virtually no other clothing manufacturers of any size are doing these days. Who makes clothes in the US? How many companies employ 4000-5000 people at fair wages with benefits in the garment industry? For that matter, how many do it in any industry where the work can be shipped off to China?

    To me, those jobs – whether they are used as part of a marketing strategy or not – are far more important than Charney or his alleged sexual issues. In fact, when I think about thousands of families, many of them blue collar (and as the poster above noted, some without English language skills), being able to work and earn respectable wages because Charney has been able to grow this company, and compare that to whether a few employees were intimidated or not by his sexual overtures, it is clear to me which is the more important. There’s no contest.

  • That was a comment I posted a day or two ago on another site discussing (partially in reaction to this post) American Apparel and whether one should support their products.

  • i am a former employee of american apparel but still a supporter reguardless of all these attacks against Dov. I am really proud to say i worked for a man that had so much drive and cares so much about the workers. My mother was a sweat shop worker in the 70 and 80 and i know from her own stories how hard this life was of working long hours with little pay. i respect everything that this man has done and i am very sad to find out that all these people are saying all this crap about the man. in my own opion nothing is factual from these disgruntled employees. I was at one point a disgruntled employee but i called up dov and let him know what kinda changes should be made from my own experience working at retail store. He meet up with me the same day and we talked a little bit about the company, he was so intrested in what i had to say. after all he wants to make sure everyone is happy. i have never seen anyone else put themselves out there like this man. thank you for being so real dov

  • here is a little information you should all read before attacking Dov by making comments that are not true regaurding threats to factory workers when the topic of union came up.

    this is a letter to the worker from ceo dov charney

    Dear workers,

    Several politicians and academics are astonished that the company’s
    workers do not want a union.

    They have the impression that the company has harassed, intimidated, or
    threatened to fire workers in order to get the union out of the

    The reality is that they don’t understand that our business model is
    based on cooperation between workers and the company, and this has been
    the formula for the company’s success. They don’t understand that
    the company’s interests are parallel to those of the workers. They
    don’t understand that we want to send out a positive message to the
    world: workers, management and customers are in this business together.
    They don’t understand that treating workers well is efficient and good

    To my knowledge we are the only apparel company in the industrialized
    world making this business model of cooperation happen. This is why we
    are getting so much attention.

    Specifically relating to this union drive, outsiders don’t understand
    that when: (1) the workers were advised of the details of the union
    concept, for example that it would cost $23.10 per month from their
    paychecks; and (2) they discovered that I or the company had not
    positively affirmed the union as the union had claimed, any support for
    the union died a sudden death. Now, unfortunately, this sudden death
    appears suspicious.

    I even invited the union to hold an immediate election— even though
    they do not have enough signatures for an election as required by law—
    but they declined, saying that the workers have been too intimidated and
    harassed. They are telling the world that workers want a union but
    American Apparel has

    The reality is that the critics simply cannot fathom the possibility
    that workers, on their own, and without pressure from management, came
    to the conclusion that the concept of the union did not apply to
    American Apparel’s business model. They cannot understand that the
    workers themselves have rejected the union. They are claiming that there
    is too much of an environment of fear for the workers to now make a
    proper decision on their own. They say that the petition signed by
    almost 1000 workers was coerced and workers did not know what they were


    Although this has been said many times before and you probably already
    know it…..
    It is critical that everyone understand that no worker will be punished
    nor will their job opportunities be diminished in any way if he or she
    chooses to support a union or the concept of unionization. Also, no
    worker will be punished nor will their job opportunities be diminished
    in any way if he or she chooses not to support a union or the concept of
    unionization. The final choice is entirely up to employees. Although it
    should go without saying, American Apparel will, under all
    circumstances, ensure that our work environment is free of any form of
    harassment, specifically regarding unionization. Not only is this
    required by California and Federal Law, but we feel the right to
    organize a union freely or reject a union is a fundamental civil right
    and we are proud to promote such an environment of openness where
    workers are free to choose. I will close this company before the rights
    of my workers are compromised. PERIOD.

    I appreciate the solidarity you’ve shown for the company and I will
    never forget the events of the last 10 days.

    Theoretically, even if workers choose to unionize, nothing will bring
    down the company and everyone’s job security will remain intact so
    long as I am in charge. If anyone from management told you otherwise,
    they are wrong.

    I know we are going to have a great future together so let’s keep it

    If anyone needs to speak with me, please feel free to contact me in
    person. Please speak with Daisy to make an appointment and I will make
    myself available of you cannot find me.

    Thank you.



    The Village Voice

    Category: Features

    Published: 01/20/98

    Page: 32

    Caption: Photo 1: Members of 23-25, UNITE’s largest local, protest in

    front of an Eighth Avenue sweatshop.

    Photo 2: The day after their election, new AFL-CIO honchos John


    Linda Chavez-Thompson, and Richard Trumka marched with UNITE head Jay

    Mazur and 23-25 manager Edgar Romney in New York.

    Credit: earl dotter/impact visuals


    Byline: Robert Fitch

    This holiday season, UNITE, the needle-trades union that nearly a
    century ago began to transform Manhattan’s rag trade jungle into a
    social democracy, bought full-page ads in major papers across the
    country. ”We are taking a stand against sweatshops,” the union
    declared. ”When you shop this season,” UNITE told shoppers, ”please
    remember the women, men, and sometimes even children who have sewn the
    clothes you may purchase.”

    Here in New York, Guess Inc. stood out as the main target of the union’s
    antisweatshop campaign. On December 4, UNITE staged a protest in front
    of Guess Inc.’s Soho outlet. Guess is the high-fashion, low-wage jeans
    manufacturer that’s been based in L.A. But as it transferred its
    nonunion operations from L.A. to Mexico, Guess found itself moving to
    the top of UNITE’s list of renegade clothes producers, where now
    union-friendly Kathie Lee Gifford used to be.

    But on the same day as the Guess protest, just a few doors down the
    street at 446 Broadway, where Soho’s fashionable boutiques begin to
    bleed into Chinatown’s Dickensian sweatshops, Dennis Vacco, attorney
    general of New York, held his own press conference. UNITE’s ”Season of
    Concern” for sweatshop workers was about to be interrupted by an
    embarrassing revelation.

    Vacco announced that he was set to arrest Lai Fong Yuen, a sportswear
    contractor, who had been making clothes inside 446 Broadway for Kathie
    Lee Gifford. Yuen, he charged, had failed to pay nearly 100 workers for
    10 weeks. When she had paid them, she had consistently violated state
    minimum wage and overtime laws. Inside her three factories, workers had
    regularly put in 10-to-11-hour days, seven days a week. Most had earned
    only a fraction of the $5.15-an-hour federal minimum wage. Some had
    earned as little as $1 an hour. In November, Yuen had tried to skip out
    on her workers, sending them home, then sending in movers to pick up her
    sewing machines and clothes.

    For jaded New Yorkers inclined to question the novelty of Chinese
    immigrants working here under sweatshop conditions, Vacco produced this
    surprise: 446 Broadway was a union sweatshop.

    Lai Fong Yuen had been producing Kathie Lee clothes under a contract
    with Local 23-25 of UNITE. What’s more, a recent internal Labor
    Department investigation into New York City sweatshops–portions of
    which were obtained by the Voice under the Freedom of Information
    Act–shows conditions in Lai Fong Yuen’s shops weren’t so different from
    those in the other 250 Chinatown plants where Local 23-25 contracts are
    in force.

    The original survey, released by Labor Secretary Alexis Herman on
    October 16, studiously avoided drawing attention to comparisons between
    union and nonunion sweatshops. But the raw data suggest that contractors
    with union agreements actually tend to have more wage and hour
    violations than nonunion plants.

    Standing in the darkened factory at 446 Broadway, Vacco pledged to
    recover the money owed the members of 23-25–variously estimated at
    $300,000 to $500,000. About a dozen laughing, jubilant union women
    surrounded Vacco, celebrating their partial victory over the inscrutable
    system of American labor law. The Chinese immigrant women called down to
    dozens of their fellow workers on the sidewalk, and a few climbed the
    stairs to join them alongside Vacco. But no officials of 23-25 were
    invited to share the moment–either by Vacco or the workers.

    UNITE–which stands for United Needle and Industrial Trade
    Employees–has a history that goes back to the 1909 ”Uprising of the
    20,000.” That year, Jewish immigrant women, in revolt against their
    bosses and conservative union leaders, staged a mass strike that led to
    the rise of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. In 1995,
    the 100,000-member ILGWU merged with the 90,000-member Amalgamated
    Clothing and Textile Workers–Norma Rae’s union–to form UNITE.

    23-25, the largest local in UNITE, could be called the mother of
    presidents. UNITE president Jay Mazur became head of the ILGWU in 1986
    because of his stewardship of 23-25. Mazur, who speaks no Cantonese,
    organized downtown Chinese workers by winning over their uptown Seventh
    Avenue bosses. Mazur won a flood of agreements with manufacturers
    (sometimes reportedly by offering manufacturers better contracts than
    other ILGWU locals had offered). Then the contractors signed up with the
    union in order to get work from the manufacturers. Sometimes contractors
    even paid workers’ union initiation fees. Workers got a health plan,
    which is now much watered-down because of income restrictions and high
    employee co-payments, which nonunion contractors did not offer.

    These fees, together with workers’ dues of $18 a month–almost equal to
    what a $40,000-a-year NEA teacher pays in dues–all add up. Last year,
    Local 23-25’s total income topped $10 million. Four million came from
    dues, and UNITE’s share of the local’s take was $2 million. UNITE knows
    how to accumulate capital. The union began 1996 with $226 million in
    assets. It owns Manhattan office buildings that house commercial tenants
    like rag queen Donna Karan. UNITE even owns a bank–the
    Amalgamated–that its accountants value at $57 million.

    Still, income from 23-25 members is critical: the rest of the union is
    shrinking, and shrinking fast. The ILGWU went from 450,000 members at
    its peak to 100,000 by 1995. Yet membership in 23-25 has stayed the same
    for nearly 20 years.

    What’s worse, Local 23-25 is currently under investigation by the
    Racketeering Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. An official in
    the department refused to speculate about whether indictments would come
    down, saying he couldn’t predict the outcome of the investigation. But
    federal investigators say the inquiry into racketeering activities grows
    directly out of the bribery conviction of Local 23-25 official Eddie Ko,
    a $40,000-a-year business agent. On September 10, 1996, Ko pleaded
    guilty in U.S. district court to taking nearly $5400 in bribes from
    employers over a two-year period. Ko is still awaiting sentencing.

    And the ongoing investigation into possible widespread corruption in
    Local 23-25 recalls a similar inquiry into UNITE’s Local 10–Dubinsky’s
    old local–that began four years ago and resulted in jail time for its
    top officials. In 1993, federal investigators set up a sting operation
    called ”Brain Cutting” using a garment-shop front on East 34th Street.
    Almost immediately, Israel Mechlowicz, the local’s manager, and Seymour
    Resnick, the local’s assistant manager, dropped by to solicit bribes. In
    exchange for cash, the union officials promised to look the other way
    while the ”bosses” stole workers’ benefits and
    ”double-breasted”–used nonunion labor while under union contract. A
    backroom video camera caught them on tape taking bribes from federal

    ”An isolated incident and a temporary setback,” announced Jay Mazur in
    1994, after Resnick and Mechlowicz were sentenced. But it turned out the
    corruption wasn’t isolated at all. In December 1994, another set of
    Local 10 officials was caught taking bribes from manufacturers.
    Contractors for Anne Klein bribed Local 10 business agents to let them
    use nonunion labor and ignore payments to union health funds. Sometimes
    all it took was $200.

    And just this summer, top officials in UNITE were deeply shaken by the
    revelations coming out of Daily News reporter Ying Chan’s investigation
    into the death of 11-year-old Quin-Rong Wu. For weeks, police searched
    for the missing girl, who’d only recently arrived in America. She was
    discovered murdered on May 28, her body thrown into the East River.

    Though tabloid accounts had painted a picture of Wu as a happy Chinatown
    schoolkid, Chan discovered the girl had actually spent her last days
    working in a union garment factory, NBC Connections, at 54 Canal Street.
    ”She was so small,” a coworker recalled, ”she had to rest her chin on
    the machine.”

    Her mother claimed that Wu had just played on the sewing machines, but
    coworkers reported that tiny Quin-Rong Wu worked at machine number 67 in
    a factory belonging to Johnny Lam, Chinatown’s most prominent garment
    contractor. Lam, who owns 14 factories, is the former head of the
    Sportswear Apparel Association, which maintains a model collective
    bargaining agreement with UNITE locals 10 and 23-25. The contract
    provides a 35-hour week and wages as high as $10 an hour. Had the union
    enforced the contract, Quin-Rong’s mother, You Qin Wu, would have taken
    home substantially more than the $100 a week she was earning under the
    supervision of Johnny Lam’s sister JoAnn.

    Child labor is no aberration in Chinatown’s union shops. Quin-Rong’s
    family had to pay $700 a month for rent. Her father earned only $350 a
    week working in a noodle factory. Earning less than $2 an hour, You Qin
    Wu had to work long days. The family couldn’t afford child care. So
    Quin-Rong came to the factory and wound up working alongside her

    Sweatshops in Chinatown are as well known as whorehouses in Amsterdam’s
    red-light district. And nearly as visible. ”Everybody in China- town
    knows,” says Peter Kwong, chair of the Asian-American Studies program
    at Hunter College and author of a new book on Chinese immigrants,
    Forbidden Workers. ”It’s not as if the sweatshops were underground. You
    can stand outside and see the lights burning all along Canal Street till
    midnight. The whole economy of Chinatown is organized around the
    sweatshop schedule. Fast-food shops stay open so they can sell to the
    women who come off work at 9 p.m.” About 250 of Chinatown’s more than
    500 garment factories have contracts with Local 23-25, according to
    Louis Vanegas, who participated in the Department of Labor sweatshop

    Could Local 23-25 be unaware that children are working in its factories?
    Each shop is supposed to have a business agent who’s paid to service the
    members’ concerns and make sure the contract is enforced. You could
    argue the kids are small and escape notice. But how could the union be
    unaware that its members are being forced to violate the contract by
    working 12 hours a day?

    The union does know that its members are being systematically defrauded
    by contractors who pay only a fraction of what they owe into employee
    benefit funds–the largest single number of cases in the Southern
    District consists of union suits seeking payment from contractors for
    unpaid benefit contributions. Besides, Local 23-25’s assistant manager
    May Chen says UNITE can’t be blamed for failing to enforce its contracts
    with sweatshop owners. Chen, the first Chinese American woman in the
    overwhelmingly Chinese local to serve as an officer, takes issue with
    the the October 16 Labor Department study that portrays violations in
    union shops as more widespread than in nonunion shops. In the
    department’s 94-shop survey, 15 of the 20 union shops were in violation
    of labor standards. Among nonunion shops the percentage was 59 per cent.
    The report shows neither union nor nonunion contractors have much to be
    proud of: only 37 per cent of all shops surveyed complied with federal
    minimum wage and overtime laws.

    ”UNITE is very concerned with the results of the study,” Chen says.
    Still, she disputes the Labor Department’s data. ”It’s our impression
    that the department’s method of determining which shop was union and
    which was nonunion was flawed. They just asked the owners in passing,
    ‘Are you a union shop?”’ So, Chen argues, nonunion owners lied–they
    claimed to have unions–to make a good impression on the Labor
    Department, and the department didn’t double-check.

    And Chen denies that corruption is endemic in Local 23-25. ”Eddie Ko
    was fired as soon as he was indicted,” she points out. Since Ko was
    fired, Chen says, the local has gotten rid of five of its 14 business
    agents. Four were offered early retirement. None have been replaced.

    Sweatshop conditions persist in union shops, says Chen, because of
    market forces and the unusual closeness that exists between Chinese
    contractors and their employees. ”I think the union is making a
    good-faith effort,” she says. ”In the garment industry we’re operating
    in an environment of extreme competition. The bosses and the workers
    share the same ethnicity. They’re very close-knit. The odds are stacked
    against us.”

    A recent Photo in the Chinese press shows a smiling May Chen, with Edgar
    Romney, cutting Christmas cake with Johnny Lam, the sportswear mogul. It
    suggests what 446 Broadway sweatshop workers I interviewed actually
    feel: that it’s the union that has close-knit ties with the boss–not

    In the world of 446 Broadway, Mr. Lin (not his real name), a 35-year-old
    leather-jacketed garment worker, is something of a labor aristocrat.
    ”Most people make less than me,” he observed. Lin earned nearly $350 a
    week putting in 12-hour days six and sometimes seven days a week. But by
    October, Lin and the rest of the 446 workers weren’t getting anything.
    Why didn’t he complain to the union? ”Once I did complain in this other
    shop. We hadn’t been paid for 13 weeks. I called the business agent.
    Later that week, the boss came up to me. ‘I can’t afford to keep you,’
    he said. He paid me what he owed me. But I got fired.” Other workers
    express similar fears and complaints about the union.

    ”It seems as if the union dragged on the case to give an opportunity to
    the boss,” observes Mrs. Chin, another 446 Broadway worker and a
    60-year-old grandmother, who’s been working in garment factories ”ever
    since I got off the plane” in 1990. Mrs. Chin (also not her real name),
    was one of nearly two dozen workers who slept on the street in front of
    446 Broadway in a round-the-clock vigil to prevent Lai Fong Yuen from
    moving her machines and clothes out of the factory in November.

    ”The union bosses only showed up after we appeared on Good Morning New
    York,” says Mrs. Chin. At 10 a.m., while the movers were carrying out
    the machines, May Chen arrived. ”She told us to go into the pen,” the
    area the police had marked off for protesters far down the street, says
    Mrs. Chin. ”May Chen says there’s nothing for us to do. If we try to
    stop the machines from leaving, the police will arrest us. The union
    doesn’t want arrests.” Then, Mrs. Chin says, May Chen ”tells us to
    shout for the TV cameras ‘Boycott Sweatshops!’ I don’t even know what
    this means. And she never told us.” According to Chen, she was only
    concerned about the workers’ welfare.

    What’s wrong with UNITE’s season-of-conscience campaign is not that it
    exists, but that it exists in an organizing vacuum. Like May Chen’s
    effort to get the workers to chant ”Boycott Sweatshops!” while their
    boss moved the collateral for their back pay out the door under police
    protection, it’s a distraction from the main task.

    Remember Mrs. Jellyby in Dickens’s Bleak House? She winds up neglecting
    her own children. One falls down a shaft because she is so preoccupied
    with the welfare of children in far-off Boriobagoola-gha. It turns out
    that Mrs. Jellyby’s husband has a project for teaching the children of
    Boriobagoola-gha how to manufacture piano legs for export.

    UNITE’s aging white leadership substitutes media campaigns aimed at
    upper-middle-class consumers for the indispensable effort of connecting
    with Asian and Latino immigrant members and potential members. Some of
    these immigrant workers have joined UNITE’s workers’ centers in Brooklyn
    and Manhattan, but trapped in its fatal tradition of organizing the
    bosses, the union rarely organizes elections for new members. But the
    Dubinsky days are over. The bosses aren’t signing up anymore. They
    taunt, in their own full-page ads in the L.A. Times, ”UNITE has not
    conducted a single election to unionize in more than 30 years in
    Southern California.” That’s why it’s consumer-boycott time. But
    consumer consciousness won’t make sweatshops go away. Only union
    consciousness will. It wasn’t just the 1909 Uprising of the 20,000 in
    Manhattan–in Chicago, where the Almagamated was founded in 1910, and in
    cities across the country, it was mass strikes that built unions.

    This season, UNITE ought to examine its own conscience. Is it a union,
    or is the union just a loss leader for its banking, real estate, and
    securities operations? Peter Kwong recalls that it was an uprising of
    Jewish immigrant women, dismissed as passive, clannish, and trapped by a
    foreign language, that created the union and the moral capital off of
    which its present leaders now live. Says Kwong, ”By not giving Chinese
    women a real chance to participate in the life of the union, today’s
    leaders are denying their own history.” Six-figure UNITE leaders ought
    to ask themselves, ”Are Mrs. Cheng and the women who blocked the boss’s
    trucks at 446 Broadway so different from our own grandmothers?”

  • Hey everyone, Dov Charney here. That’s right, this is the man you’ve all been talking about. I just want to thank everyone for making this blog such an unbelievable mess that now you don’t even know if this really is Dov or not.

    As I, Dov, am writing this, I have Sona, my supporter right next to me, and I also have about a half-dozen American Apparel workers who hate me and a half-dozen who love me, and we’re all sitting around playing charades. I also have a Mexican-American worker, Esteban, who would like everyone to know that I have given his family a chance at making a real living in American, and I also have Manuela, who is still mad because I didn’t let her join a union. Oh, who’s that at the door…lemme see…oh great! It’s one of my models! What’s that? She says this was her choice to model for me, and she doesn’t regret it. Thank you. Oh, who’s that calling me? It’s the father of another one of my models, and he’s pissed, cause he doesn’t like that I took advantage of his daughter.

    We’re all here, and I’m sure a few more people will be stopping by soon. Maybe we’ll periodically post a comment here on this blog, and we’ll just let you all decide if it’s really a former or current worker, or if it’s really a model, or if it’s really me, Dov, for that matter.

    Too bad none of you will know.

    Maybe sometimes we’ll post a comment so extravagant that it could only be found in a fairy tale or a horror movie, and then other times it’ll be so understated that it could happen to any one of us. Maybe I’ll post something on here, and then I’ll post something else right afterward rebutting everything I said the first time! That’ll be hilarious! Then no one will have any idea if they’re witnessing a real tooth and nail battle of words, or just a made-up bunch of baloney. What a wonderfully entertaining social experiment this will be!

    And who know, maybe there are bloggers on here who have already started their own bit of storytelling. Keep up the good work, I say! Creative writing isn’t encouraged enough in our school system, so let’s take up the cause here.

    And if anyone is upset about this, relax. It’s not like this blog had any validity to begin with. So with that…let the fun begin!

  • Hi Dov Charney, I mean Trevor. See, we DO know who’s who and what’s what. In case it wasn’t apparent, the post above is not from Mr. Charney. And what’s wrong with our validity?

  • You – we are talking about him. He wins! I wonder what weird ass stuff martha strwart was into with her young guy. Not newsworthy. Watch us lefties jump on Dov – it might help AA take off, help some more Mexican families. I spent some time in the factory. A business run by one man’s cock, wapping a few model’s and employees integrity, comfort, decency and more, and en route making the lives of not just the thousands of Mexicans – not speaking english – integrate, but ALL THEIR FAMILIES HAVING A CHANCE AT GETTING OUT OF POVERTY. The mexican dudes are making more than the graphic designers from montreal. ALmost twice in some cases.

    Man. If only we spent this much time criticizing various republican’s personal conduct: there’s the hypocrisy. Or the fuckin fruit of the loom biz model. Whatever.

    madlogic, I want your email address.!! youre awesome. [email protected]

  • Wow, you caught me CK,,,the point is…this blog is stupid and people can post whatever they want and say they are whoever they want! There, the joke is spelled out for you.

  • In the world of blogs, as in the world of life, people can say they’re whoever they want. As I sipped a Cosmopolitan and slipped into an $800 pair of house shoes, I found myself wondering: in a world where we never really know anyone else, are there people who really know themselves?

    CK might not care if you think we’re stupid, but I’m asking you: please don’t call us “stupid.” Call the post “stupid” or the opinion “stupid” or the economy “stupid.” There’s more to this blog than this one post.

  • Wow, I was wondering how long it would take before someone started impersonating me on here. Well, here I am to stick up for myself. My name is Dov Charney, don’t believe me? Give me a call at 213-***-****, or email me at [email protected].

    I just wanted to say hi to all my supporters.

    Ed. Note: Once again, NOT Charney