model workplace

A former employee of the troubled Los Angeles clothing firm American Apparel Inc. accused the company’s chairman and chief executive, Dov Charney, in a lawsuit of holding her captive and forcing her to perform sexual acts.

The suit, filed in a New York trial court in Brooklyn, seeks $250 million in damages. It accuses Charney of sexual harassment, retaliation, gender discrimination and creating a hostile workplace.

The suit also accuses the company’s other eight board members of failing to protect the employee, Irene Morales, from an executive they should have known was a “sexual predator.”

According to the lawsuit, Charney — who has faced several sexual harassment suits, none of which has gone to trial — invited Morales to his Manhattan apartment in April 2008, soon after her 18th birthday.

He was wearing nothing but underwear when she arrived and made her perform oral sex on him near the entranceway as soon as she walked in, the lawsuit alleged. He then “dragged her into his bedroom, threw her on the bed, got on top of her and forced her to perform” another sex act, the suit alleged.

“She was then, to all intents and purposes, held prisoner in the apartment for several hours and forced to perform additional sexual acts,” the suit stated.

For the next eight months, Morales alleged, she was forced to have more sex with Charney, according to the lawsuit, which was filed Friday.

Soon after she joined American Apparel, Charney visited the retail location where she worked, obtained her contact information and began telephoning her “at all hours, while at work and when at home,” even though she was still a high school student, the suit alleged. He also “demanded details about her sexual history and interest,” according to the complaint.

The suit alleged that Charney made it clear that Morales would be fired if she did not comply and also demanded that she send him sexually explicit photographs, text messages and e-mails.

“He informed her that if she wanted to remain employed and be advanced by the company, she would have to engage in sexual acts with him as soon as she turned 18 years old,” the suit said.

The harassment caused Morales to have an emotional breakdown and she was hospitalized for several days, according to her lawyer, Eric Baum of Simon, Eisenberg & Baum in New York.

The suit is another black cloud for beleaguered American Apparel, which is struggling to stay afloat amid slumping sales and losses. It has repeatedly warned in recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission of “substantial doubt” about its viability going forward.


  1. Claire, Ideologically Stubborn Heatist Ruralite
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 5:36 am |

    I don’t mean to sound insensitive to this poor child’s naive credulity, but…

    rly?!? You got a hi-skool job in a t-shirt store, some creep comes on to you and you don’t tell him to …erm, turn his attentions to himself, and move down the mall to sell Cinnabons?

    The same creep “makes” you send him kiddie pr0n [which it is since you were under 18], and you do it?!? Instead of documenting it and owning his arse with an employment discrimination suit [if $$$ was your goal]?!?

    He tells you what he wants “when you turn 18″ and you go alone to his apartment? Where you were “held captive” and there’s no police report? And how did he “force” you to continue showing up for eight [8] freakin’ months?!? Certainly not by threat of losing your t-shirt store job…

    *Someone* here certainly is “addicted to the hustle”…

  2. SondraK, Lympian Slayer
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 6:19 am |

    Whelp…he did make them famous.

  3. mojo
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 8:42 am |

    I say again, ladies: If you grab ‘em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow – out into the street to find a cop.

  4. Posted March 9, 2011 at 11:16 am |

    Sure this guy wasn’t running the Philly Housing Authority too?

    A string of women say Greene sexually harassed them and retaliated at work if they turned him down. Both men and women complained of shakedowns in the form of weekly payroll deductions that they say funded lobbying and lavish parties for the boss. And the agency, despite a legal department of its own, spent more than $33 million for outside legal work from 2007 to 2010, including millions to a law firm that employed Street’s son.

  5. Posted March 9, 2011 at 11:21 am |

    Dammit, here’s the link to the story that should have been in the last comment.

  6. Laurence
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 3:47 pm |

    He forced her to perform oral sex and he still has a penis? Clamp down with your teeth, grab the sack in both hands and pull while making a wish.