I called Charney to follow up, and then discussed his grievances via email with Jewish Journal editor Howard Blume, who oversaw the article in question. I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s nothing mis-reported in the article per se, which pretty carefully distinguishes between allegation and fact. Although of course, one could argue about balance and bias in any piece like this. However, as Blume pointed out to me, if Charney really objects to the article, maybe he ought to write a letter to the editor, which the Journal would print, and which he hasn’t done.
Nonetheless, since Charney is concerned about his reputation, a few points bear emphasis:
-Charney’s now-infamous liaison with a writer for the magazine Jane was completely consensual. And they both had a great time.
-Two of the main sources in the Jewish Journal article have long-standing disputes with Charney stemming from the attempt to unionize American Apparel a few years ago, which was voted down by the company’s workers.
-Many clothing companies which American Apparel does business with regularly inspect AA’s facilities and financial records, and, claims Charney, would take note of any worker exploitation.
-The writer of the Jewish Journal article never visited the company’s facilities.
Charney also thinks that there is a movement in the blogo- and media-spheres to take him down, because he is successful and colorful. I don’t really agree with this, but I do think there may be a tendency to make fun of him a little, since he has a silly moustache and talks a lot about sex. (And by the way, there’s this.) In any case, if Charney really thinks blogs are bad for society (which is what he told me), I’m not sure why his company advertises so heavily on the Gawker Media empire.
Anyway, all this is neither here nor there. The point is that Charney may actually be a good guy. I would also like to endorse his T-shirts, which I find to hang quite flatteringly on the lanky, sinewy frames of certain semitically handsome media bloggers.