A former mannequin for Abercrombie & Fitch on Friday sued the style retailer, alleging it allowed its former CEO Mike Jeffries to run a sex-trafficking group throughout his 22-year tenure.
Jeffries, who left Abercrombie in 2014, transformed the chain from an struggling retailer of looking attire to a vendor of must-have teen clothes. But he confronted criticism for the corporate’s sexualized advertising and marketing, together with billboards and beefy fashions that alienated potential prospects who didn’t match into its picture.
The lawsuit comes after a BBC report earlier this month raised comparable allegations towards Jeffries and his companion Matthew Smith.
The lawsuit, filed by David Bradberry within the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleges Jeffries had modeling scouts scouring the web and elsewhere to establish enticing younger males looking for to be the following face of Abercrombie. Often these potential fashions turned sex-trafficking victims, despatched to New York and overseas and abused by Jeffries and different males, all beneath the guise that they have been being recruited to turn into the following Abercrombie mannequin, the lawsuit contends.
“Jeffries was so important to the profitability of the brand that he was given complete autonomy to perform his role as CEO however he saw fit, including through the use of blatant international sex-trafficking and abuse of prospective Abercrombie models,” the go well with alleges.
The lawsuit names Jeffries, Smith, and the Jeffries Family Office LLC. It seeks class-action standing and estimates that over 100 younger fashions, along with Bradberry, have been victims.
A&F, based mostly in New Albany, Ohio, declined to remark Friday. Earlier this month, the retailer stated that it had employed an outdoor legislation agency to conduct an impartial investigation into the problems raised by the BBC. It stated the corporate’s present leaders and board of administrators weren’t conscious of the allegations of Jeffries’ sexual misconduct.
“For close to a decade, a new executive leadership team and refreshed board of directors have successfully transformed our brands and culture into the values-driven organization we are today,” the corporate stated. “We have zero tolerance for abuse, harassment or discrimination of any kind.”
Jeffries’ lawyer, Brian Bieber, stated in an announcement that Jeffries “will not comment in the press on this new lawsuit, as he has likewise chosen not to regarding litigation in the past. ”
“The courtroom is where we will deal with this matter,” Bieber added.
The Jeffries Family Office didn’t reply instantly for requests for remark.
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Anne D’innocenzio, The Associated Press