Despite trying to market themselves as a hip, sweatshop-free haven for social justice, it’s really a union-busting org with skeevy advertising practices and an unapologetically sexually harrassing CEO, with a habit of trying to intimidate media sources critical of the company. Clamor Magazine is their newest target; they’ve run a series of accurate stories (and a parody), and AA is threatening to sue.

This is just icksa. You can read Clamor’s three stories on the nastiness that is this company (such a pity, no? We need a big sweatshop-free success story, but they ain’t it) here, here, and here.

From the Clamor Magazine press release (note the irony of the single inaccuracy that they had to fix):

Cynthia Semon, Media Relations Director at American Apparel, sent an email to Clamor Politics co-editor (and editor of the American Apparel section) Mariana Ruiz and Clamor co-founder Jen Angel, citing inaccuracies and accusing Clamor of shoddy and amateur journalism. Ms. Semon demanded, “if the article is not immediately removed online, along with a retraction and an [sic] public apology posted online and published appropriately, we will be forced to seek legal action in light of such gross, blatant, negligent and irresponsible journalism.”

“We have issued a correction of unintended factual inaccuracies,” stated Angel, “However,
we have no intention of retracting the stories or the issue in which they appear. Apart from the correction we have made, we stand by those stories as they appear.” The correction is noted below.

“We’re publishing articles here that are critical of American Apparel’s business practices and challenge the credibility of their carefully crafted ‘progressive’ identity, and they’re not happy about that,” said Clamor co-founder Jason Kucsma. “That a social justice magazine with a yearly operating budget of less than $150 thousand is being issued an ultimatum by a company that turned $250 million in profit last year seems a little incongruous to me.

Three articles, one photo essay featuring a former American Apparel employee, and a series of parody American Apparel ads make up a 10-page section analyzing American Apparel’s business model, sexual harassment claims made against founder and CEO Dov Charney, and the co-opting of progressive values to hype an otherwise less-than progressive workplace.

*Advance Correction:
In this Fall 2006 issue, we incorrectly reported that Mary Nelson, a store manager at American Apparel, had withdrawn her sexual harassment suit against CEO Dov Charney. It has come to our attention that the suit by Mary Nelson, a sales manager, is still
pending, and that an unnamed store manager withdrew her suit against the company.

ETA: Check the Progressive Jewish Alliance’s list of sweatshop-free alternatives in the PDF here.

If you have other links to similar resources, please let me know!

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