A young woman who worked as a sales associate for American Apparel has filed a lawsuit accusing the company’s CEO of harassing her to the point of mental breakdown, and then after that turning her into his “sex slave” on her 18th birthday. In a suit that demands a whopping $250 million from the legendarily lecherous fashion magnate, the woman alleges that he began bothering her when she was working in an American Apparel store at the age of 17. According to the court filings, Charney threatened her with firing if she did not tell him about her sexual history and send him explicit pictures and consent to have sex with him on the day she turned 18.
When that day came, the woman claims she turned up at his apartment. Charney answered the door in his underwear, she says, and “dragged her to the bedroom, threw her on the bed, got on top of her and forced her to perform another act of fellatio, nearly suffocating her in the process.” She adds that she was then “held prisoner” for several hours and several additional sex acts.
This was all after she’d taken a break from work and gone to a hospital to deal with the psychological effects of the pressure from her boss. Once she got out, she told Charney about the breakdown, which she says only set him on an even more aggressive path. So far lawyers for Charney have not responded to the claims.
American Apparel gave a statement to Gawker, in which they outed the woman who made the charges. There is no denial in their statement, but there are repeated references to a confidentiality agreement which the employee apparently violated. That violation appears to upset them more than the allegations:
“We have been informed today that [name redacted], a former employee of American Apparel who left the company without complaint and resigned with a letter of gratitude regarding her positive experience at the company, has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in New York against the company. Upon her resignation, [redacted] acknowledged in writing that she had no pending claims against the company and signed a severance agreement which included a full release of claims and an agreement to submit any future claims to confidential binding arbitration. All American Apparel’s employees are subject to the same confidential arbitration agreement signed by [redacted] in order to protect the privacy interests of employees and former employees, and to prevent predatory plaintiffs and their attorneys from attempting to use the media to extort the company. Such an arbitration process was initiated by the company against [redacted] several weeks ago. The company intends to file a formal complaint with the NY state bar seeking disciplinary action against [redacted]’s lawyers who we believe are engaged in an illegal conspiracy to extort money from American Apparel. We are very confident that [redacted]’s claims will be promptly referred by the court to confidential binding arbitration where her claims and the company’s counter-claims will be resolved, we believe fully in favor of the company.”