I am not a fan of American Apparel, never have been and never will be. Many people are quick to defend it because the products are made in “non-exploitative settings”. Okay, so it’s great that the clothes are sweatshop free and made in an air conditioned LA factory where the workers are paid full wages and receive health benefits.
But “exploitative” has other meanings too. Like sexually harassing workers on a normal basis. Calling your female employees sluts at work because it’s “endearing”. Firing people because they aren’t deemed attractive enough. Constantly objectifying women. Dov Charney and American Apparel engage in very misogynist practices that disgust me.
American Apparel operates to create and perpetuate an unrealistic, exclusive standard of beauty. Charney has recently requested that all “ugly” employees be fired because they are “detrimental to the AA ‘aesthetic'” and hindering the company’s ability to profit. Gawker has an email from an AA store manager:
Summer is supposed to be a great sales season for AA. Needless to say, with the state of the economy, sales haven’t been going so well. Dov usually gets on the conference calls and talks to people, but one week, he went on a huge tirade and made stores that weren’t doing well send in group photos. Why, you ask? He made store managers across the country take group photos of their employees so that he could personally judge people based on looks. He is tightening the AA ‘aesthetic,’ and anyone that he deems not good-looking enough to work there, is encouraged to be fired. This is blatant discrimination based on looks.
Dov personally judged each person in group photos that were sent in, and if you weren’t to his liking, then boy… watch out. The comments that he made were raging from childish ones to insulting ones. Managers that don’t comply with these new standards are afraid of losing their jobs. Employees who aren’t up to Dov’s “look” and whose work ethic is “just ok” are being targeted and scrutinized and the minute they make small mistakes, they are being fired. But it’s only because Dov wants to weed out the “ugly people.” It’s ironic that he would rather have gorgeous slackers who don’t move the product [or lift a finger] working there than normal looking people who are really aren’t that bad looking, but are A+ sellers and great at customer service. The real irony here is that he is no [looker], himself. He’s asking for a class-action lawsuit and i hope that when it rains, it rains hard. Worst place to work, ever. This is happening at many stores across the country.
This is seriously fucked up. So yeah, in addition to the sexual harassment lawsuits against him, I won’t be surprised if sketchball Charney has another round of lawsuits to deal with.