News & Opinion | August 6, 2020 11:43 am

Disgraced American Apparel Founder Dov Charney Is Back With a Military Contract

The Los Angeles Apparel founder is in hot water again

Dov Charney, former American Apparel CEO, photographed in 2012
Dov Charney, former American Apparel CEO, photographed in 2012.
Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Years before the #MeToo movement picked up steam, Dov Charney was accused of sexual harassment, and worse, by employees and models from his company American Apparel. Despite never being charged or found guilty, he was ousted and became a pariah in the fashion world in which he had previously pulled the strings. Now, not only is the CEO back with the similarly named Los Angeles Apparel company, he’s apparently got a lucrative military contract, too.

According to reporting from the Daily Beast, Charney’s new company “landed a two-year contract to make tens of thousands of masks for the Air Force—and, he claims, millions more face covers for a bevy of federal agencies,” supposedly entities as big as the CDC, FEMA and DHHS. 

That’s not even the worst of it. The outlet looked into federal records and found that Los Angeles Apparel self-certified itself as a “small disadvantaged business,” “a designation intended to uplift entrepreneurs of color,” ostensibly in order to secure the contracts.

“They must have put that on there on their own,” Charney told the Daily Beast. “To put it like we’re trying to trick people like we’re a minority—we don’t do that.” The dismissal aside, the publication spoke to experts who explained that fraud is common among the Small Disadvantages Business program, citing multiple cases in 2019 involving military contracts.

Whether or not Charney is inappropriately classifying his business, the Daily Beast questions giving him such a contract in the first place.

As the outlet details, the accusations leveled against him in the past include “holding a 17-year-old sales clerk prisoner in his apartment as a ‘sex slave,’ choking a store manager after calling him a ‘fag’ and ‘wannabe Jew,’ forcing himself on multiple models, sending some workers explicit texts and photos, calling others ‘Filipino pigs,’ and saving videos of sex acts on his work computer.”

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