American Apparel fires Dov Charney: Founder let go after ‘misconduct’ inquiry

Board votes unanimously to remove him and says company is ‘larger than any one individual’

los angeles

Dov Charney created American Apparel, the clothing retailer whose iconic advertisements are known not so much for faces, as bodies. But this week he was removed from his role as CEO by the brand’s board of directors, as the result of an internal investigation into his alleged misconduct.

Claims of sexual harassment and other bad workplace behaviour have long pursued the 45-year-old American Apparel founder. The details of the investigation have not been disclosed, but the board said they had voted unanimously to replace Mr Charney as the company’s chairman, and “to terminate his employment as President and CEO for cause.”

Allan Mayer, who has been appointed co-chairman of the board, said in a statement: “We take no joy in this, but the board felt it was the right thing to do. Dov Charney created American Apparel, but the company has grown much larger than any one individual and we are confident that its greatest days are still ahead.”

Born in Montreal, Mr Charney first began importing US-made T-shirts to Canada as a high-school student. In 1997 he moved to Los Angeles to manufacture his own garments for wholesale, and in 2003 American Apparel launched its first retail outlets. By the following year, it had opened a UK shop, on London’s Carnaby Street. Today, there are American Apparel outlets in 20 countries.

READ MORE: Why American Apparel is going out of fashion

The company earned praise for its commitment to manufacturing in the USA, eschewing overseas sweatshops to make all its clothing at its factory headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. Yet it has also endured controversies. In 2009, Mr Charney was obliged to dismiss more than a quarter of his workforce after they were found to be lacking the necessary immigration documents.

The brand’s signature risqué advertising has raised eyebrows, as have longstanding rumours about Mr Charney’s lewd behaviour. He is said to buy sex toys for his employees as gifts and to stride around the factory floor wearing only underpants.

In 2011, four female former employees filed a lawsuit accusing Mr Charney of sexual harassment, including claims that he sexually assaulted one of them during a job interview.

The following year he was accused of physically and verbally assaulting one of his store managers in a wrongful termination suit. At the time, Mr Charney said it was “a testimony to my success… that I’m a target for baseless lawsuits”.

The suits were settled, and the firm publicly backed its founder in both cases.

Mr Charney has said that allegations he acted improperly are a “fiction”. None of the accusations have been proven.

Mr Mayer told the Los Angeles Times that the company’s internal investigation was launched earlier this year, when “new information came to light”.

Retail consultant Antony Karabus said Mr Charney had done an “amazing job in creating the brand”. He added: “But it often requires a different skill to take it to the next level.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable