Can American Apparel go 24 hours without getting hit with a new controversy? Yesterday, several of their ads were banned in Britain for appearing to sexualize minors, and today CEO Dov Charney is getting hit with a lawsuit that alleges he choked and rubbed dirt in the face of a former employee.
The Los Angeles Times reports that former Malibu store manager Michael Bumblis has filed a suit with the Los Angeles Superior Court claiming that he was wrongly fired from his job after submitting internal complaints about Charney’s behavior.
Bumblis alleges that, back in April, the CEO approached him and accused him of working for a rival retailer, calling him a “fag” and a “wannabe Jew,” and asking inappropriate questions about whether he was sleeping with a woman Charney had seen him with. The troubles came to a head a few weeks later when the executive came to the store for an inspection, becoming “visibly agitated” when he saw part of the second floor was being used as an office. According to the suit, he then “dove” at Bumblis, trying to “choke and strangle” the employee and later attempting to rub dirt in his face. (And why, pray tell, was there dirt in the store to begin with? This much is not clarified.)
On the side of the defense, American Apparel lawyer Peter Schey told the Times that the lawsuit is “contrived and untrue.” In a statement, he offered the following:
“Michael Bumblis was recently terminated by American Apparel for reasons consistent with company policy. In addition to the conduct that led to his termination, Mr. Bumblis has also now violated his written agreement to arbitrate any disputes with the company.”
Schey also plans to begin arbitration “with claims that we fully expect to win.” Charney, meanwhile, has said that he considers the near-constant legal troubles “a testimony to [his] success,” it’s quite possible he’s be feeling pretty pleased with himself right about now.