A few weeks ago we ran a story on Dov Charney, the Montreal-born CEO of red hot retailer American Apparel. We dubbed him the World’s Weirdest CEO for a host of reasons, not the least of which were Charney’s carnal tales of threesomes with senior staff, his propensity to fondle himself during interviews and the multiple sexual harassment lawsuits filed by former employees—four in three years.
Actually, make that five. New allegations (as yet unproven in court) have been raised by Jeneleen Floyd, who worked in the company’s L.A. head office for three years. If you think your boss is bad, her claims should be enough to put everything in context.Floyd alleges Charney barged into her office frothing at the mouth, threatening to “kick your ass.” He then ordered her to pretend to masturbate in front of him. When she didn’t, he gave the same order to her immediate supervisor Matthew Swenson, who was nearby. She says when Swenson complied, Charney went over and “simulated an oral sex act with him.” To top it all off, Charney ordered her to work that night on a project that took until midnight to complete—a pretty mundane complaint after all the other stuff, when you think of it. TMZ.com has a copy of the lawsuit if you want to read the whole thing.
You’ve got to wonder how long AA’s shareholders are going to put up with it all, even with Charney’s huge stake in the company. Since going public last December, AA’s shares have lost nearly 60 per cent of their value. Former CFO Ken Cieply, who Charney called a “complete loser” in a Wall Street Journal interview, left last month. And the company still faces questions over its accounting practices. As we pointed out in our story, some companies are better suited to being privately owned. American Apparel is one of them.