April 04, 2011

Dov Charney with co-worker Eliana Rodriguez

Dov Charney with co-worker Eliana Rodriguez

Accused males are starting to resist kowtowing to these predatory females. Hollywood lawyer Adam Levin recently told me the number of shakedowns in the film industry would stun the average American. “€œIt’s impossible to put a number on it,”€ he said. “€œSometimes it’s a quick twenty or thirty grand but if the accusation is really serious, they”€™ll go for six figures. Celebrities settle because they can”€™t afford to have this affect their reputation. No matter how false it is.”€ Levin sees this as a bad precedent, so he fights. When a former writer’s assistant from the show Friends claimed there was too much sexual banter going around the writer’s table, she charged Warner Bros. with sexual harassment. Levin not only won the case but countersued the writer for $415K of legal bills. Now we”€™re talking. This groundbreaking case led to an amicus brief described by one writer as arguing that “€œ”€˜communicative workplaces,”€™ such as writers’ offices and universities, depend on free-wheeling and uninhibited dialogue and discussion to function.”€

MTV VJ Iann Robinson was fired for calling fellow VJ SuChin Pak an “€œAsian whore”€ and singing “€œme love you long time.”€ Only he never did either of those things. He said “€œWow, they really do make her look like a prostitute”€ while watching her on TV from the makeup room. When Iann made this comment, he”€™d already had numerous conversations with SuChin about how MTV wanted them to be characters instead of real reporters and Robinson was confirming her suspicions they made her look slutty. The game of telephone eventually mutated his quote into racist slurs, and that was all Viacom needed to terminate his contract. Pak and Robinson were forbidden to speak to each other during this controversy. Robinson would have no idea what her take on it was, but insiders tell me she used the whole thing as leverage while renegotiating her contract. SuChin is still at MTV, but the incident ended Robinson’s career.

One of the most egregious abuses of sexual-harassment law in US history is going on right now, and I”€™ve been ensconced (NSFW) in the case for the past two weeks because again, I know the guy. Two former American Apparel employees have come forward and told the Today show they were sexually assaulted by CEO Dov Charney. The first, Irene Morales, claims she was held captive as a slave and forced to perform sexual acts. She also alleges she was forced to send him naked photographs. For this abuse, she demands $250 million. The problem is, she sent most of the sexual photographs after the alleged assault. Another problem is, she wasn”€™t employed by the company during the time she sent them. A third problem is, the pictures are pretty gross (VERY NSFW), especially in the context of a cry for help.

I spoke to another reporter involved in the case and she said she needed a shower after going through all the evidence. I actually had to go to the gym myself and sweat it out, because a shower didn”€™t cut it. There’s something about reading an email that says, “€œI just bought a fat dildo”€ from a woman claiming she suffered $250 million worth of sexual trauma a year earlier that just gets into your pores, especially when she adds, “€œI would lick your little asshole clean!!!!”€ a week later. Incidentally, the woman claiming she was a sex slave ends all her emails with a quote from abolitionist Fredrick Douglass: “€œI prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”€

The second girl came aboard after the first didn”€™t seem to be making progress with her shakedown. Kimbra Lo, AKA Kimbra Audrey, claims she was “€œterrified”€ during an attack by Charney but photographs (NSFW) of the event look far from terrifying. When asked why she was making this case public instead of pressing charges, she plagiarized Martin Luther King and said, “€œTo me, as I see it, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere and that’s what this is. This whole company is an injustice.”€ Wow.

I spoke to Charney on the phone about this for several hours and he says he is determined to take it all the way to court. He wants the world to see the evidence and is unafraid of the media’s witch hunt where everyone is encouraged to assume at least some of this is true. The media ignores his refusal to settle and the fact that no criminal charges have been filed. Charney is fairly paranoid these days and refuses to give me any quotes on the record, but after talking to him for days on end, I don”€™t envy the people who fight these things. No matter how innocent you are, a lawsuit gets into your head like a computer virus and takes over everything in your hard drive. Charney’s angry but he’s also frantic and exhausted. Talking to him about his case reminds me of Lenny Bruce, who got so obsessed with the details of his obscenity charges, he lost all his money and his mind. The bastards didn”€™t just get him down. They killed him. I hope Charney doesn”€™t suffer the same fate.

Martin Luther King would be mortified to learn his “€œLetter From a Birmingham Jail“€ was being used to justify $250 million for sex, and I”€™m almost positive Frederick Douglass would feel the same way about his autobiography being quoted next to a slave’s plea to lick her master’s asshole clean. Martin and Frederick had noble ideas that parasites eventually twisted into fake lawsuits. The original ideas behind sexual-harassment law were probably just as pure, but now it’s a dirty, dirty business.


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