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.

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About the author

ck

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.

395 Comments

  • 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

    Quote:

    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…

  • 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.
    Best,
    A’yen

  • 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,
    Sona
    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.

  • NAMELESS:
    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.
    Love,
    Alix

  • 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.