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Dov Charney: lecher, hero, neither, or both?

dovc.jpgThe Jewish Journal takes a look at American Apparel founder Dov Charney, who famously shared more than usual of himself with Jane Magazine and who’s being sued by various ex-employees for sexual harassment. No air-hugging for him! The Journal also casts some doubt on American Apparel’s much-ballyhooed reputation for treating its workers fairly:

The litigation discomforts anti-sweatshop activists who have supported American Apparel. They’d already had to accept Charney’s staunchly anti-union position. And for some time, a small chorus has never quite accepted Charney’s pro-labor bona fides, especially because he never submitted to voluntary inspections.

“Based on anecdotal evidence we’ve heard, he’s a cut above other manufacturers in Los Angeles, but I don’t know if he really lives up to the extravagant claims he makes,” said Richard Applebaum, author of “Behind the Label: Inequality in the Los Angeles Apparel Industry” (UC Press, 2000). “He claims to pay higher wages, a living wage, but there’s no independent evidence of it. He made insurance available to his employees, but they had to pay for it. It’s like saying something is kosher, without having a rabbi look at it.”

Will all this lead to a hipster backlash? Stay tuned…

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