American Apparel PR man Ryan Holiday, who describes himself as a “media manipulator for notorious clients like [macho author] Tucker Max and [AA CEO] Dov Charney” has promised to deliver a book that exposes “serious accusations of wrong doing” at various blogs, including Business Insider.
I can’t wait. Anyone who publishes a single bad word about American Apparel will be familiar with Holiday (pictured in the background on this photo from his Facebook page). Dare to suggest that all is not well at AA — by reminding people that it still doesn’t make money, for instance — and soon your phone will be ringing, with Holiday’s voice on the other end demanding corrections.
My favourite encounter with Holiday occurred when I suggested that Charney’s personal loans to his company, repayable at 6 per cent interest and garnering him more than $200,000 in extra cash annually, were functioning like a piggy bank for Charney. Those levels of interest aren’t available to his employees, and consumers at the time of writing were getting around 1 per cent interest on their savings accounts. The loans functioned like a pay rise for Charney, but Holiday insisted they were kosher because the interest rate was slightly lower than what was available from other creditors.
In 2009, Gawker had an even more interesting encounter with Holiday. The blog got hold of emails showing Holiday asking the company’s CFO to give him a statement assuring everyone AA was not going bankrupt, when it fact it was. To this day AA is required to warn investors that it may not be a going concern (see page 9 of this).
“… we will leak entirely fabricated excerpts and chapters to various blogs claiming they were “too controversial” for the publisher to allow for publication.”
Then, Holiday plans to expose in the book how easily manipulated business bloggers are:
“This book levels direct charges and serious accusations of wrong doing. It names names. Those names make up some of the biggest and highly trafficked sites on the web: Politico, Jeff Jarvis, TechCrunch, Michael Arrington, Ariana Huffington, Mashable, Gawker, Business Insider, Nick Denton and others. Each one of these names will be surreptitiously notified of these embarrassing revelations in advance and baited into responding. So will their competitors. We can expect their angry reactions and protests to drive serious attention and awareness of the book.”
The weirdest part is that Holiday seems to believe that his communications strategy for AA has been worthy of study and praise by others. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t Charney and AA currently possess one of the worst reputations in the retail business?
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