In the last month, five former American Apparel employees have come forward claiming sexual harassment against the company’s founder Dov Charney. 20-year-old Irene Morales filed suit in early March, seeking $260 million in damages. On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that a second sexual harassment suit was being brought against Charney on behalf of four former American Apparel employees: Kimbra Lo, Alyssa Ferguson, Marissa Wilson and Tesa Lubans-Dehaven. The same lawyer, Eric Baum, is representing all five girls in both suits.
Today we spoke to a source who knows Lo, as well as several of the other women. According the source, Lo worked for the company for seven months and left in May 2010. The source calls these group of women “estranged groupies” who are using this as a “way to get rich quick. They all know Dov, whether platonically, or not. Or in the case of Irene, she was practically stalking him.” When asked why these women might want to do such a thing, the source said. “It’s a way to get rich quick. Kimbra has a history of getting involved with high profile men, and this is her cash-out.”
Another source remarked, “All made threats of some sort not only to Charney but to other American Apparel employees like the photographers, etc. that if they didn’t get more money and attention, they would go public with a fake lawsuit. As of now, they have no evidence. This is a civil matter, not a criminal case, which is what people don’t understand. They won’t get a dime.”
It seems other folks are out to leak their own “smoking gun” photos and bits of gossip. We’ve been bombarded by anonymous tipsters leaking information about Kimbra Lo’s personal life and now extremely NSFW emails alleged to be from Irene Morales to to Dov Charney have appeared on two blogs–kimbralo.blogspot.com and alyssaferguson.blogspot.com. More photos of Lo with Olivier Zahm are featured on these blogs, as well as Lo’s alleged spread for hipster porn mag Jacques. Gawker received similar tips, including additional emails alleged to be from Morales to Charney, one of which is a list of American Apparel birthday items she wants, dangling this as bait: “do it for all those delicious blowjobs I would give you, and how I would lick your little asshole clean!!! And how I would love to do it again when I see you!”
According to the Daily News, Irene Morales’ suit says that Charney “forced her to go down on her knees just inside the front door and perform fellatio upon him,” and “[s]he was then, to all intents and purposes, held prisoner in the apartment for several hours and forced to perform additional sexual acts.” Kimbra Lo, the only claimant from the second suit to speak out as the other three girls signed confidentiality agreement during their employment, went on the Today show this morning and said Charney attacked her after she showed up at his house to discuss photography and modeling opportunities. “I didn’t feel like there was a way for me to leave safely..I was terrified,” she said.
Dov Charney is contesting the charges. His lawyer, Peter Schey, told the Times “The allegations are false. I think this is an effort to shake down American Apparel. These claims should be resolved in confidential arbitration.” In a statement given to the Today show, American Apparel said they have love letters from Lo to Charney after she left American Apparel and that they have “‘smoking gun’ photographs undermining her false accusations of unwelcome harassment.”