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Former Employee Sues American Apparel Founder For Sexual Assault

Former Employee Sues American Apparel Founder For Sexual Assault

The founder and CEO of American Apparel, Dov Charney, is being sued for $260 million by a former employee who alleges that he forced her to have sex with him over a period of eight months until the woman, Irene Morales, resigned under pressure.  Morales also says that she is considering pressing criminal charges, and that she did not come forward earlier because of trauma and shame.

Sexual harassment suits have been filed against Charney disturbingly often in the past, but none have been proven in court.  This one is, according to the NY Daily News, “by far the most damning.”  It alleges that the sexual harassment began while Morales was 17, and became physical when she turned 18.

The details of the case are extremely distressing.  According to Morales, on her 18th birthday, Charney invited her to his apartment and forced her to perform oral sex on him repeatedly.  She was then, according to the suit, “held prisoner in the apartment for several hours and forced to perform additional sexual acts.”

The assaults continued for eight months, until Morales finally quit.  This was after she had experienced a nervous breakdown, which did not deter Charney.  When asked why she didn’t quit earlier, her lawyer explained, “She was promised job advancement.  She was young. She needed the job.”

American Apparel has issued a statement about the lawsuit, claiming that Morales and her lawyers are “engaged in an illegal conspiracy to extort money from American Apparel.”

Anyone who has been to the American Apparel website, or seen their ads, knows how little regard the company seems to have for women’s bodies except as sexualized props to sell their products.  The fact that Dov Charney is infamously accused of sexual harassment makes it hard to believe that this lawsuit is the result of a conspiracy against him, although the results of the case are not yet available.  

In any case, if what Morales is alleging is true, Charney probably committed similar offenses against other models and employees, and we can only hope that her lawsuit – and any subsequent criminal charges – are successful.


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9:23AM PDT on Mar 21, 2011

If she did not speak up right away, then she is guilty now of extortion. THEEND.
If you don't like AA then don't buy it.
It's too bad that he doesn't make his clothing more respected by advertising it in less sexualized ways.
These gals must be desperate for attention.

11:19AM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

I am curious to see how this will turn out. IF(if!) he is guilty, I hope he gets a serious punnishment.

"if what Morales is saying is true"

I like this sentence. I am actually pleasantly surprised, usually the sexist bigots on care2 just assume a man is always guilty. This at least seems to hold open the possibility that he is not.

She should not be suing him for 260m, that only weakens her case. She should be dealing with this in a criminal manner.

I will be interested to see how tihs turns out. I am going to hold off judgment until I know more.

2:10PM PDT on Mar 15, 2011

William Y. "I'm glad none here are on the jury, if you can show guilt or innocence by an article, who needs the courts?"

You spoke the truth!

3:46AM PDT on Mar 14, 2011

This is a crying shame.

4:24AM PST on Mar 12, 2011

17 is 17. It takes courage to come forward and perhaps this will encourage any other (alleged) victims of Chaney's to speak up.

7:32PM PST on Mar 11, 2011

I'm glad none here are on the jury, if you can show guilt or innocence by an article, who needs the courts?

3:53PM PST on Mar 11, 2011

I will have to stand with Mara C. on this. Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, not the court of public opinion egged on by the media and sub-par journalists. Shame on you Amelia!! You should know better than to smear a well established American company like this without proof. Jobs are scarce enough as it is.

4:21AM PST on Mar 11, 2011

Thanks for the article.

2:34AM PST on Mar 11, 2011

Seems to me she should have quit the job after the first time. But he still had no right to do what he did. 18 is very young to know things and to not be afraid. I wish she had talked to someone b4 it got this far.

6:02PM PST on Mar 10, 2011

What ever happened to "Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law"? I cannot pass judgement until all facts are in and the perp is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt!

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