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To Love or Not to Love Dov
American Apparel CEO Now Literally Using Old Porn Pics as Ads: There's a case to be made that the ads are faux child pornography dressed as adult porn, and they're pretending to advertise AA's clothes when in fact they're just some pictures Charney saw in a porn magazine. -- --Jim Edwards, bnet.com, January 26, 2011
'At first they make you feel special, ' Ms. Rappleye said. 'If you were chosen to work for the company, that meant you were attractive enough to sell sex successfully. But after a while,' she said, 'it feels disgusting.' --Former American Apparel sales associate Hanna Rappleye, 18. The New York Times, July 10, 2005
After researching the shennanigans of American Apparel CEO Dov Charney, I'm happy to report I've found the perfect antidote. Amish people. I was kind of surprised to find the Amish online. Their lifestyle and beliefs do not include cameras, electricity or computers. But apparently, thanks to an Amish loophole, it's okay to let non-Amish "English" people use those things for them. The Amish website 800padutch.com opens a window to the unsullied, skank-free Pennsylvania Dutch world. A horse drawn carriage rolls along the green countryside. Men wear long sleeve shirts, black pants, and wide-rimmed straw hats. Women, in full-length skirts and long-sleeved blouses, their hair tucked inside white caps, walk along a street, laughing and talking. A boy, smiling, rides his bicycle along a dirt road. Surely anyone who enters the Amish world must exit a better person. Perhaps an Amish intervention could rehab Dov Charney...? There's a reality show or Lifetime movie in there somewhere. Remember "Witness" and "For Richer or Poorer"? It's not that far fetched.
Thing is, I can't even look at the American Apparel bag (a few feet away on my dining room table) without wincing. The infant-sized Elmo t-shirt, hoodie, and yoga pants / gifts will be returned asap; a thoughtfully handwritten note tucked inside the bag: "Dear Dov, Canada misses you. Don’t forget your passport. All the best, Tina PS: Don't forget to shut the door to your website on your way out."
I will spare readers the details and gritty truths about Dov Charney. The lovely quotes at the top of this post coupled with four workplace-related sexual harrassment lawsuits and a 2004 TMI proflile by writer Claudine Ko in Jane magazine (sorry, I'd rather not provide the link and have every confidence you'll find it without my help) say plenty. The now infamous SNL sketch is actually pretty kind to Dear Dov. Eew.
In an earlier post I asked what Dad would want me to do. Would he want me to buy USA-made American Apparel products despite Mr. Charney's sleazoid reputation? Would he say, "Ya gotta look at the big picture, Teen. The guy's a creep but look at all the American jobs he's creating. Go ahead, shop there. The good outweighs the bad." Um, nope. I don't think so.
And now that Dov has posted kiddie-porn-inspired artwork on his advertising page it's a moot point. To love or not love Dov? Please. Really? No Dad, not just mine, would want his daughter buying products from a company run by someone like Dov. American Apparel's ads cross the line decent societies draw in the sand to protect their children from adult predators. Period. As Dad would say, "End of story." Problem is, on his personal website (dovcharney.com), Mr. Charney states his belief in a "borderless" world. I picture him in his American Apparel undies, barefoot, trampling all over society's line in the sand, erasing it, reeking havoc wherever he goes and leaving others to clean up his mess.
There are signs Dov Charney's American Apparel may not be around much longer. According to brandchannel.com, "After the first week of January, American Apparel's stock nosedived and lost a third of its value in under three weeks." Happy as I would be to see Mr. Charney go, it would truly be sad for thousands of LA garment factory workers to lose their jobs. Maybe Levi Strauss could take over the building, keep all those well-trained employees, and produce 100% Made in the USA Jeans. Has a nice ring to it. Sounds simple and pure and old-fashioned. Not quite Amish, but downright American.
PS: Interested in Amish products? Check out amishshop.com. Owner Richard Cossa has been working with the Amish, selling their handcrafted wares since 1997. "You can't mass produce stuff with the Amish," he says. "It's all handmade. Some shops in other parts of the county sell all this stuff that looks Amish but it's actually made in China. You gotta be careful." Don't I know it, Richard. Thanks for the tip. Dog crate end table, anyone?