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Explosive Allegations: Lawsuit Accuses Abercrombie & Fitch of Facilitating Ex-CEO's Sexual Exploitation of Men

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Explosive Allegations: Abercrombie & Fitch Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Ex-CEO's Alleged Sex Trafficking Scheme

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Abercrombie & Fitch by dozens of men, accusing the fashion giant of complicity in a decade-long sex trafficking scheme orchestrated by its former CEO, Michael Jeffries. The complaint, filed in federal court in New York, alleges that Jeffries exploited his position between 1992 and 2014 to prey on young men aspiring to become Abercrombie models.

The lawsuit claims that Jeffries ran an extensive sex trafficking operation, coercing and forcing young men into engaging in sexual acts in exchange for money and promises of employment. One aspiring model, according to the complaint, was sexually assaulted at least seven times at Abercrombie & Fitch casting events in New York, France, and London. The suit contends that victims numbered over 100, with the expectation that more individuals will come forward.

Abercrombie & Fitch responded to the allegations, stating it does not comment on pending litigation. The complaint not only targets Jeffries but also names his long-time partner, Matthew Smith, as a defendant, alleging that Smith participated in sexual assaults alongside Jeffries. Despite lacking an official position at the company, Smith allegedly had access to non-public information and wielded managerial authority.

Attorney Brittany Henderson, representing some plaintiffs, emphasized the importance of addressing sexual exploitation in the fashion industry, stating, “Sexual exploitation does not discriminate based on gender. Men have been exploited in the modeling and fashion industries for decades.” Henderson sees the case as pivotal to expanding the #MeToo movement to the #WeToo movement, combating sexual exploitation across genders.

The plaintiffs are seeking a trial by jury, along with punitive and compensatory damages. Jeffries' attorney, Brian Bieber, asserted that his client would refrain from commenting in the press and would address the matter in the courtroom. The lawsuit adds a significant dimension to the ongoing conversation about workplace harassment and exploitation, shedding light on alleged misconduct at the highest levels of a prominent fashion brand.

Legal Battle Unfolds: Abercrombie & Fitch Faces Multifaceted Lawsuit Amidst Abuse Allegations

The legal saga surrounding Abercrombie & Fitch deepens as a class-action lawsuit, comprised of 21 counts, accuses the fashion giant of complicity in a sex trafficking scheme orchestrated by its former CEO, Michael Jeffries, and his partner, Matthew Smith. Bieber revealed that Smith currently lacks legal representation, and it remains uncertain whether he has retained a lawyer.

The lawsuit alleges that Abercrombie & Fitch, aware of Jeffries' and Smith's abuse, willfully turned a blind eye to the extensive financial transactions used to pay off victims. The company faces nine counts related to negligence, asserting that its complicity makes it liable for the physical and emotional distress suffered by the plaintiffs due to the alleged assault committed by Jeffries and Smith.

"To put it plainly, Jeffries needed a corporation that knew he was engaging in illegal activity and did not care, which Jeffries had in Abercrombie," states the complaint. It contends that Abercrombie & Fitch financially benefited from the sex-trafficking venture, using male models to enhance its brand image while keeping Jeffries content and productive, ultimately transforming the company into a billion-dollar industry leader.

The lawsuit emerges less than a month after the BBC published allegations from eight men who claimed exploitation by Jeffries and Smith. According to the BBC report, the men were recruited through a network of middlemen and paid for referrals. Abercrombie & Fitch responded by launching its own investigation, stating that its current leadership team and board were unaware of the allegations against Jeffries.

The retailer reaffirmed a commitment to a values-driven organization and zero tolerance for abuse, harassment, or discrimination. As the legal battle unfolds, Abercrombie & Fitch faces intensified scrutiny over its corporate culture and leadership practices. CNN's Parija Kavilanz contributed to this comprehensive report on the evolving situation.

In conclusion, Abercrombie & Fitch finds itself embroiled in a multifaceted legal challenge as a class-action lawsuit, comprising 21 counts, unfolds amidst disturbing allegations of a sex trafficking scheme orchestrated by its former CEO, Michael Jeffries, and partner Matthew Smith. The lawsuit accuses the fashion giant of complicity, asserting that the company was aware of the abuse and deliberately ignored financial transactions used to silence victims.

Abercrombie & Fitch faces nine counts of negligence, contending that its alleged complicity makes it liable for the physical and emotional distress suffered by the plaintiffs. The complaint suggests that the company financially benefited from the illicit activities, using male models to enhance its brand image while enabling Jeffries to rebrand and transform the company into a billion-dollar industry leader.

The legal battle follows recent allegations brought to light by the BBC, and Abercrombie & Fitch's own investigation into the matter. The company has vehemently denied prior knowledge of the allegations against Jeffries, emphasizing its commitment to a values-driven organization with zero tolerance for abuse, harassment, or discrimination.

As the lawsuit unfolds, Abercrombie & Fitch faces heightened scrutiny over its corporate culture and leadership practices. The outcome of this legal battle will undoubtedly shape the narrative surrounding the company and potentially contribute to a broader conversation about workplace misconduct within the fashion industry. The situation underscores the imperative for organizations to address allegations of abuse and underscores the importance of accountability and transparency in corporate governance.

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