Former Abercrombie & Fitch boss sues company amid sex trafficking case

Mike Jeffries files lawsuit in Delaware stating that Abercrombie & Fitch was ignoring his right to have his fees covered in sex trafficking case

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Wednesday 06 December 2023 08:21 GMT

Related: Former aspiring Abercrombie & Fitch model details sexual encounter with Mike Jeffries

The former boss of Abercrombie & Fitch has filed a lawsuit against the apparel retailer for allegedly refusing to cover his legal fees after he was accused of running a sex trafficking operation for two decades.

Mike Jeffries, the ex-chief executive who stepped down in 2014, filed a lawsuit in Delaware, stating that the company was ignoring his right to have his fees covered that he'd have to incur while defending himself against a class action suit filed in October.

David Bradberry, a former model for Abercrombie & Fitch, sued the fashion retailer alleging it allowed Mr Jeffries to run a sex-trafficking organization during his 22-year tenure.

The lawsuit was filed following a BBC investigation that found that Mr Jeffries and his British partner, Matthew Smith, allegedly exploited young adult men for sex at events hosted by them in London, New York, and Marrakesh.

The suit named Abercrombie, Mr Jeffries, Mr Smith, and Jeffries's Ohio-based company Jeffries Family Office as defendants.

It accused Mr Jeffries of exploiting his position to “ensnare” more than 100 male victims with free clothes and gift cards, and false promises about modeling opportunities, according to the Delaware complaint.

Mr Jeffries made an initial demand to the company to cover his legal fees but the request was rejected and a second plea was ignored, according to the court filings.

The complaint said the company was required by contract to cover any claims against Mr Jeffries that are “based upon and arise out of his position as an officer”, which include any threatened, asserted, pending or completed claim "whether civil, criminal, administrative" or other.

According to the filings, the contract also required the brand to either reimburse or provide advance payment to Mr Jeffries at his request.

Abercrombie & Fitch in a statement in October said: "For close to a decade, a new executive leadership team and refreshed board of directors  have successfully transformed our brands and culture into the values-driven organization we are today."

"We have zero tolerance for abuse, harassment or discrimination of any kind." The company said it did not comment on pending litigations.

Mr Jeffries and Mr Smith were contacted by the BBC several times by letter, email and phone over several weeks for comment on a “detailed list” of the allegations against them but did not respond. The couple could not immediately be reached by The Independent.

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