The former CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) has been charged with using young men as sex objects at gatherings that he and his partner allegedly staged in the United States and other countries.
The company’s former executives, Mike Jeffries and Matthew Smith are accused of abusing and using male models for sexual purposes. According to a BBC investigation, the two bosses are accused of hiring male models exclusively for sex parties while distancing themselves from the apparently dubious business practices.
The fashion giant is accused of creating a hostile work environment for the models who were allegedly sexually exploited. Former Abercrombie & Fitch model Scott Beattie filed the case, alleging that Jeffries had repeatedly harassed him sexually. Beattie claims that Jeffries frequently made pornographic remarks about his physique and occasionally touched him improperly. He further asserts that Jeffries threatened to fire him if he refused to consent to sex with him after being pressured to do so.
Kyle Craig, a different former Abercrombie & Fitch model, brought a similar claim against Jeffries in 2015. Craig said that Jeffries assaulted him and other male models sexually and that he had turned the business into a “boys’ club” where men were given preference over women.
Jeffries has refuted every accusation leveled against him. His spokesperson issued a statement that read, “Mr. Jeffries denies all of these claims. He is an extremely well-respected businessman who has never acted improperly”.Abercrombie & Fitch stated that it was “appalled and disgusted,” whereas the middleman, James Jacobson, whom the BBC named, claimed Jeffries and Smith attended these gatherings with “eyes wide open.” Sex appeal was a key selling feature for businesses during the Hollister, A&F, and Gilly Hicks era, as evidenced by the abundance of images of shirtless models in the shops.
The BBC undertook a two-year investigation involving 12 men who either planned or attended the sex parties between 2009 and 2015. Jeffries resigned from his position in 2014 citing deteriorating pay rates. The case against Jeffries was filed at a time when workplace sexual harassment was receiving a lot of attention. Many well-known men have been accused of sexual assault in recent months, including Matt Lauer, Bill Cosby, and Harvey Weinstein.
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Women who have experienced sexual harassment and assault now have a voice thanks to the #MeToo movement, which has inspired them to share their experiences.