I've always felt a bit conflicted about American Apparel. On the one hand, they've been a moral leader against sweatshops and have proven that you can profitably make and sell clothes in the U.S. They've backed immigration reform and marriage equality and called for a global minimum wage for garment workers.
But then, there's their founder Dov Charney. Charney has been facing lawsuits and accusations of sexual harassment for years!
According to allegations in a a termination letter obtained by Buzzfeed and authenticated by the new co-chairman, he paid off employees to keep his bad behavior from coming to light, made offensive remarks to people based on their gender, religion or sexual orientation, and allowed an employee to post revenge porn nude photos of one of the former employees who had sued him for sexual harassment.
So American Apparel, after years of bad behavior you've finally decided to turf him. What took you so long?
I just can't bring myself to give you props when it was so plainly obvious to anyone with a halfway functioning moral compass that Charney had to go.
Now, USA Today reports that Charney is fighting his firing. In an SEC filing Charney says that the termination is without merit and he plans to contest it vigorously.
But to me the real question is: Why did the board decide to finally take action now? It seems because Charney's behavior caught up with the bottom line.
According to the New York Times, "The company's stock has plummeted about 80 percent in the last five years. Several financial institutions refused to work with American Apparel while Mr. Charney was involved with the company."
If Charney was profitable, he'd likely still be at the helm and allowed to harass with impunity.
Congratulations on finally doing the right thing American Apparel after apparently exhausting all other options. I just wish you cared as much about your female employees as you do your profit margin.