American Apparel CEO Dov Charney Fired After Years Of Allegations Of Sexual Harassment
Dov Charney, American Apparel's CEO, was fired Wednesday following years of allegations of misconduct, including multiple sexual harassment lawsuits.
CEO Dov Charney Fired For 'Alleged Misconduct'
The Board of Directors of American Apparel voted to terminate Charney as President and CEO of the clothing company, which he founded in 1998. According to board member Allan Mayer, Charney was ousted due to “an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct.” The board also announced its intentions to request Charney’s removal from the board, though Charney still owns 27% of the company’s stock.
While the board refused to elaborate on the “alleged misconduct,” many are pointing to Charney’s increasingly disturbing public image. Since American Apparel went public in 2007, Charney has been plagued by sexual harassment lawsuits and his personal hiring practices have come under fire. In addition to claims that he sexually harassed female employees before firing them, it was also alleged that Charney personally requested photos of every single one of his retail store employees so that he could judge whether or not they were ‘good looking’ enough.
In 2010, the Los Angeles office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determined that American Apparel discriminated against “women, as a class, on the basis of their female gender, by subjecting them to sexual harassment.”
American Apparel Controversial Ads
Charney is also responsible for the company’s highly sexualized advertising, and has a reputation for parading around his L.A. office in his underwear.
American Apparel ads were once rumored to feature only retail employees, and the scandalous photos raised eyebrows for their depiction of increasingly young-looking women and men in sexual positions and suggestive situations. For example, some ads featured a woman kneeling on the floor in a revealing dress in between a man’s legs. Other ads feature a man’s face framed by women’s feet.
— American Apparel (@americanapparel) November 20, 2013
The sexual ads, sexual harassment claims, alleged ‘no uglies’ hiring policy and the nature of the clothing produced by American Apparel – known for being almost child-like in size, fitting only the smallest and skinniest of adults – all makes a case for Charney’s dismissal.
“The company has grown a lot bigger than just one person and the liabilities Dov brought to the situation began to far outweigh his strengths,” said Meyer, who is now the board’s co-chairman.
Given Charney’s tenuous public image, it is not surprising that shares of American Apparel rose a reported 7% on Thursday, though the prices remain low and it is too early to tell how Charney's dismissal will impact the future of the company.