First published by The Independent, 20th June 2014
Dov Charney, the founder, president and CEO of American Apparel, found himself without a job this week. I think it’s safe to assume that the prevailing sense among American Apparel staff and management will be one of pure, unadulterated relief.
In 2010, Charney received a $1.1m bonus, despite the plummeting stock price of American Apparel and the firing of 1,800 workers. One of the reasons that Charney was forced to step down was the lagging profits under his leadership, but since American Apparel’s board have terminated his contract following allegations of misconduct, it would hardly be surprising if his record of employee complaints was the deciding factor. Either way, shares in American Apparel jumped as much as 20 per cent in New York trading after the news of his departure was made public.
Perhaps with Charney gone, American Apparel will have no need for their “At Will Confidentiality Agreement” which stipulates that any worker who contacts the media or disparages Charney in public or online will be liable to pay a penalty of $1m. The agreement also demands that AA employees should not discuss the company at a volume that “reasonably could be overheard by a third party”. Without the looming presence of Charney, they may be able to raise their voices above a whisper.
Whatever you think of American Apparel’s porntastic advertisements and its overpriced jersey basics, the firing of Dov Charney hails a new era for the company and gives his alleged victims at least some justice. The good news is that Charney is history. The bad news is that it took so long to happen.