Abercrombie & Fitch Faces Lawsuit Over Former CEO’s Alleged Misconduct
Abercrombie & Fitch, amidst its revival, is grappling with a lawsuit connected to the alleged wrongdoings of its former CEO, Mike Jeffries. The lawsuit claims the company turned a blind eye to Jeffries, who is accused of running a sex trafficking ring exploiting aspiring models for the brand.
The allegations suggest that Jeffries, named as a defendant in the suit, sexually abused men under the pretense of securing modeling contracts. This legal action follows a recent BBC investigation that made similar accusations against Jeffries and Abercrombie.
In response, the company declined to comment on the ongoing litigation but expressed being “appalled and disgusted” by the allegations. Abercrombie initiated an independent investigation into the issues raised by the BBC.
The lawsuit alleges that Jeffries abused his power, using his influence to exploit individuals seeking opportunities within Abercrombie. The company, under current leadership, asserted that they were unaware of the alleged misconduct.
Brian Bieber, Jeffries’ attorney, refrained from commenting on the specific claims in the lawsuit, emphasizing that the matter would be addressed in court.
The plaintiff, David Bradberry, contends that he was assaulted and coerced into unwanted acts during what he believed to be a legitimate Abercrombie-related event. The lawsuit claims that similar incidents occurred with over 100 other victims, accusing Abercrombie of enabling the misconduct.
Jeffries, credited with revitalizing Abercrombie in the 1990s, left the company in 2014 amid controversies related to discrimination and the brand’s exclusive image. Under new leadership, Abercrombie has rebranded itself as an inclusive retailer, experiencing a surprising financial turnaround.
Despite its past troubles, Abercrombie has reported strong earnings and profits, surpassing estimates. The company’s success comes as a stark contrast to its mid-2000s decline marked by discrimination lawsuits and a fading reputation.
As the lawsuit unfolds, Abercrombie & Fitch faces the challenge of addressing historical allegations against its former CEO while maintaining its newfound positive momentum in the retail market.