Sexual assault lawsuits are piling up for American Apparel CEO Dov Charney. Naturally, the lawyers for the LA-based clothing outfit are disputing the charges, saying that the four former employees are trying to "shake down" the CEO and the financially troubled company. However the legal drama plays out, this isn't remotely new territory for American Apparel. Charney's been fending off bad publicity and lawsuits for the better part of a decade. But after years of reportedly pretty skeevy behavior, this might be the time when the lawsuits catch up to him.
The latest suit arrives from a former female employee, Kimbra Lo, who alleged that, among other things, Charney made unwelcome sexual advances while in his bedroom (where he says he regularly holds his "meetings"), took pictures of her against her will and sent sexually explicit messages. Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times reported that he was sued by another former female employee who alleged that he held her captive and forced her to perform sex acts (the others haven't publicly disclosed their lawsuit complaints).
For what seems like years now, Gawker and similar sites have documented so many different eye-brow raising, and just plain mean things that the company has allegedly done to former, current, or prospective employees, that it's hard to keep track of all the different serious allegations against American Apparel. Tellingly, even the New York Times didn't appear to have an exact count of how many times Charney's been sued for sexual harassment over the last decade, noting that it's been "at least four times."
On Thursday, American Apparel's lawyers issued a statement in response to the lawsuits, in which they allege that they have "smoking gun" proof that Kimbra Lo, at least, was trying to pursue Carney romantically (via the Los Angeles Times). Here's an excerpt:
American Apparel has recently learned that four plaintiffs have initiated a fraudulent and malicious lawsuit against Dov Charney and American Apparel in Los Angeles. All four plaintiffs are friends, two of whom live together, and they have colluded with one another to shake down Mr. Charney and American Apparel for money. With respect to Kimbra Lo, the lead claimant in the Los Angeles case, we are in possession of voluminous evidence which conclusively shows that her claims are meritless. After she left American Apparel, Ms. Lo aggressively pursued a romantic relationship with Mr. Charney. The company is in possession of love letters that Ms. Lo sent to Mr. Charney after she left the company. The company also has "smoking gun" photographs undermining her false accusations of unwelcome harassment. Ms. Lo's attorney is fully aware that his client's story is fiction, but he has nevertheless participated in the racket to shake down the company and Mr. Charney.