Why do we fight back against American Apparel?
Founder and CEO Dov Charney is a sexist pig. American Apparel poses scantily clad models as porn stars, drugged women, corpses, and children. AA’s marketing glorifies rape culture and celebrates coercion into sex; and just like in sweatshops around the world, American Apparel workers are subject to the sexist coercion of the bosses. To become an AA model, employees are expected to have sex with Charney. This has led to several lawsuits, usually settled out of court. In 2004, Charney even gave an interview to a female reporter while masturbating and receiving oral sex.
American Apparel exploits and intimidates workers. In 2003, American Apparel workers began organizing a union to challenge unaffordable healthcare benefits, no sick leave, and systemic harassment. Charney and the management retaliated by spying on workers, interrogating workers, banning organizers, forcing workers to attend anti-union rants, spreading misinformation, and threatening to lock-out workers. Charney was never a friend of workers; even his first full-time job was scabbing for the Canadian government during a postal workers strike.
American Apparel is symptomatic of capitalism. Like Whole Foods, British Petroleum and other ethically-branded corporations, American Apparel doesn’t raise standards. These corporations provide guilt-free consumerism for a wealthy few while continuing to exploit people and the planet. American Apparel workers are still treated as poorly as the rest of us American workers. You can’t buy your way out of capitalism.
Why do creeps like Charney own corporate empires, while our communities, our unions, and peaceful dissenters are attacked by the state? The state prioritizes protecting property and profit over our bodies and our rights. We act in solidarity, because whatever our sex or gender or skin color, no matter where we work or where we are from, all peoples of the world are tied together in our struggle for freedom. Workers must have control of their workplaces. Rape culture must be destroyed.
AN INJURY TO ANY OF US IS AN INJURY TO ALL OF US