Corporate-owned American Apparel fires founder: but not because he’s a Skeeze.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Sep 23, 2008
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dov charney

Update: American Apparel Fires Controversial CEO Dov Charney (



My takeaway from that article;

  • Multiple sexual harassment lawsuits, loathsome behavior, engendering a terrible working environment? No problem.

  • Lose stock value? You’re fired.



"american apparel" made in usa ad

For more:

Topless American Apparel Ad goes after Sweatshop Labor. {Nudity}

american apparel women

Comments: “The really unfortunate piece of news in this article isn’t the ousting of Charney… it is the 95% decline in stock prices. The next likely thing will be that the label will be scooped up by some healthier company, which will in turn move production overseas and replace decently made clothing with more Asian crap that falls apart after 5 washes. A shame, their t-shirts are among the only brands that actually look nice enough to wear just as a t-shirt, with nothing else over them.”


I’m glad. I like that they’re made in the USA, sweatshop free, but I wasn’t comfortable supporting a company that was so blatently misogynistic and gross.


That’s the exact same problem I was facing. Fair trade clothing – clothing made by consenting adults being paid a living wage in a safe work environment, not by child laborers or enslaved factory workers in hostile, dangerous work environments – has always been an issue close to my heart. American Apparel’s transparency in their manufacturing, plus that it’s done in America, was what drew me to it when I started shopping thereat maybe age 14? Besides what a status symbol it was amongst the ‘hipster’ kids at my school, which I was horribly apart of. But as I became a feminist, and more confidant in my human rights interests, I stopped shopping at Urban Outfitters and American Apparel, among other stores, because of either their culturally appropriative clothing (in the case of UO) and their blatant misogyny in their advertising (in the case of AA).

But without Charney as their CEO, I really hope that American Apparel will keep their body positive advertising without oversexualizing their models, and I’ll feel comfortable supporting them again.


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Original article follows:

American Apparel now has 10,000 employees, only three of whom have sued founder Dov Charney.

This morning a longtime barista buddy of mine asked me if he should avoid printing his cafe’s shirts on American Apparel, “Because of that crazy perv founder dude.” It’s a real concern—the stylish ecoish fashion line may be fair-labor (paying all employees a living wage, not getting their stuff made overseas but rather making it in downtown LA, offering ESL classes and many other benefits) and all, but founder Dov Charney (above) has famously had sex with as many employees as he could get his hands on, it seems; he (in)famously masturbated repeatedly in front of a female reporter for defunct mag JANE, he’s being sued by three (as of last year) former employees, he’s whacko and wild, etc.

But here’s why I print elephant on American Apparel. They were fair-labor, and made in USA, back when that wasn’t cool or popular in the business world. They have been among the pioneers, or at least second wave, of fashion co’s going green (Patagonia was the first wave). And finally, whacky founder Dov’s always been open about his sexual appetites. Wide open. No shady backroom dealings here. And when all’s said and done, if 99% of the company is 200% better than 90% of other companies, that’s good enough for me in this imperfect world.



American Apparel Billboard with Woody Allen

Bonus: Hipster Olympics:



About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


8 Responses to “Corporate-owned American Apparel fires founder: but not because he’s a Skeeze.”

  1. lina says:

    i miss old AA! now it’s just cheesy and, yes, fair-labored, American giant. let me get this straight: Dov hasn’t anything to do with his company or its image for couple years or so now, when he sold his shares. and those years when he was involved with AA were the best ads wise: the skimpy dressed girls were the girls he actually shagged (hence, if you work at AA and want to be in its ads, sleep with Dov, he will photograph you and here you go. lots of fame driven girls would consider that), and i thought those raw pics were the coolest ads ever. now however, spotty and imperfect (therefore, perfect) girls were replaced with strike-the-pose models, which sucks and is plain boring. it’s just not the genuine thing anymore. but wacky men with moustaches – rock on for ever!

  2. […] in the past about the things I love about American Apparel. Waylon has too, highlighting their fair labor standards and vertical integration (and I’ve heard he’s a fan of their underwear but I can’t verify […]

  3. […] have all been in line at a cafe/American Apparel/AmCo show and seen these AltPeople with their brightly colored tee shirt & glasses […]

  4. […] details, in scantily entertaining fashion, just how eco, progressive…er, wow….solar American Apparel…what was I…recycling ESL free bicycles and…vertical integration, Made in Downtown […]

  5. Endless Mike says:

    Great post! ..and Lina's comments are spot on. Diana pulease.

  6. […] what, but here’s her first ad, just up on AA’s site—and hopefully on this site, soon. I love AA—making doing it right (progressive, Made in USA) look sexy—and elephant loves Tara, who […]

  7. […] of our yogarific readers, we’ve come to regret that American Apparel represents (and treats) women in a consistently sexualized manner. Given their widespread rep, the unending controversy, […]

  8. […] of course, they’ve been one of America’s most controversial companies given founder Dov Charney’s unashamed exposure of his bits and tackle, the occasional sexual harrasm…s, his hiring of thousands of illegal immigrants, and most infamously perhaps this advertising, […]

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