American Apparel advertisements are often described as provocative and sexual, racy, even porny. Its CEO has cultivated a similar image. But after years of complaints, Dov Charney was finally ousted Wednesday by the Board of Directors he once led.
A company press release noted that the decision stemmed from “an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct.’’
Charney had a long and checkered past at American Apparel, where he served as CEO since he founded the company 16 years ago. During that time, Charney became a magnet for allegations that ranged from slurs to harassment to sex slavery.
Yet the Board of Directors never booted him.
Here are several things Charney has allegedly done in the past without serious recriminations from the company.
1. He allegedly hired undocumented immigrants. During 2008, the U.S. government conducted an investigation, which found that about a third of the workers at the American Apparel factory in Los Angeles were undocumented. The company prides itself for manufacturing its clothes in the United States.
2. He has faced numerous allegations that he sexually harassed employees and models. Several years ago he was accused of sexual harassment against seven separate women. Most of those claims proved false, but they garnered massive media attention, particularly regarding one woman who claimed that Charney held her as a sex slave. He also often paraded around the office wearing only underwear.
3. He allegedly tried to choke a male employee and threw dirt at him. A former store manager brought a suit against Charney, which alleged that the CEO had choked and thrown dirt at him, while calling him an anti-gay slur.
4. He presided over a company whose profits have plummeted. American Apparel has generated a profit since 2009. According to The New York Times, American Apparel shares have fallen 84 percent since 2009 and now rarely exceed $2 per share.