American Apparel's founder says that 'sleeping with people you work with is unavoidable'

Dov Charney has a new clothing company — and he says he doesn’t regret any of the behaviour that led to his being forced out at American Apparel, a company he founded. 

Charney started Los Angeles Apparel in late 2016, two years after he was forced out of American Apparel by his own board and other investors in the company. His removal came after several employees lodged sexual harassment allegations against him. 

However, in an interview with The Guardian published Sunday, Charney said that he doesn’t regret any of his relationships with employees, which contributed to his being forced out of the company. 

“Sleeping with people you work with is UNAVOIDABLE!” he told reporter Hadley Freeman. 

“Take yourself,” Charney told Freeman. “You’re well-spoken, well-educated, you decide to work here. And we develop a romantic interest in each other. We could say, ‘OK, we’re attracted to each other, but it’s better we just work together.’ OK, we could try that. And that may work. But if the attraction is so intense, eventually we’re gonna give up!” 

In the interview, Charney said that he abhorred all forms of sexual harassment and he claimed the board used allegations as an excuse to force him out of the company. 

Charney has never been found guilty of sexual harassment. He has consistently denied allegations, with some claims settled by American Apparel’s insurance company against Charney’s will and others settled only on allegations that did not relate to sexual harassment.

Charney also argued that Americans’ hysteria about sex distracts people from real issues, like immigration and the environment. He used the “Access Hollywood” tapes in which Donald Trump said the phrase “grab them by the p—-” as an example. 

“That stuff he said to Billy Bush [about grabbing women by the vagina] — who cares?” Charney told the Guardian. “If you recorded all the things I said about women in the past 10 days it would be no different.”

As in a previous interview with Bloomberg’s Matthew Townsend, Charney refused to discuss if he was engaged in sexual relationships with employees at Los Angeles Apparel, saying it was a “private” matter. 

American Apparel previously settled cases with four models who claimed they had been harassed or sexually assaulted by Charney. The company paid a sum of $US3.4 million to two models, according to court papers filed by the company. The other settlements were confidential. 

In 2015, after Charney had already left American Apparel, the company’s board accused him of violating company policies that prohibit harassment and retaliation against former employees.

“The company had wanted to sell the company underneath me and rehashed distorted allegations into the media so they could distract the company and successfully hijack control of the company,” Charney told Business Insider earlier this year. 

He is in the process of suing former American Apparel officials over claims that they conspired to push him out of the company.

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