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Abercrombie & Fitch Ex-CEO Mike Jeffries: A Comprehensive Guide to Accusations

Abercrombie & Fitch is investigating claims that its former CEO sexually exploited men at lavish parties worldwide.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co., the popular clothing retailer, is currently under investigation for allegations that its former CEO, Mike Jeffries, sexually exploited men at extravagant parties held around the world. These accusations, initially reported by the BBC, claim that Jeffries was involved in organizing sex events, enticing participants with the promise of becoming models for the renowned teen outfitter. According to the BBC, eight men came forward, revealing that they either engaged in or witnessed sexual acts at parties hosted by Jeffries and his partner, Matthew Smith, between 2009 and 2015. Each of these men allegedly received thousands of dollars in cash after the parties. The recruitment for these events was supposedly facilitated by a middleman named James Jacobson, who allegedly coerced one of the recruits into performing oral sex on him in exchange for a meeting with Abercrombie & Fitch or Mike Jeffries. This individual later received an invitation to Jeffries' residence in the Hamptons, where he engaged in sexual activities with the former CEO after being given poppers, a drug commonly used to enhance sexual experiences. Another man, who was a former model, claimed that he had oral sex performed on him by another recruited man while Jeffries and Smith watched. These allegations have had a profound impact on the individuals involved, with one former model stating that the experience broke him and stole his innocence. The BBC attempted to contact Jeffries for comment but was unsuccessful. Mike Jeffries served as the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch from 1992 to 2014 and is credited with transforming the brand from a struggling heritage label known for safari wear into a leading teen outfitter recognized for its preppy style, strong cologne, and provocative advertisements featuring semi-nude models. Despite its success as a business strategy, Jeffries' marketing approach also led to numerous controversies. In 2003, the company faced a class-action lawsuit filed by Black, Latino, and Asian American employees, alleging discrimination in hiring practices. Abercrombie & Fitch settled the lawsuit for $40 million in 2004. Jeffries retired in 2014 with a retirement package of $25 million. The brand's exclusivity and controversial practices continued even after his departure. In 2015, A&F lawyers appeared before the Supreme Court, arguing that they had the right to deny a Muslim woman a job due to her headscarf violating the company's "look policy." The Supreme Court ruled against the company in an 8-1 decision. However, in recent years, Abercrombie & Fitch has attempted to transform its image. The brand has moved away from its traditional dark storefronts, moose logos, and sexualized advertising campaigns. It has expanded its size range and collaborated with young influencers to promote its basic clothing items like bodysuits and trousers. The company's current chief merchandising officer, Fran Horowitz, has emphasized that Abercrombie & Fitch is now a positive and inclusive brand, distancing itself from its controversial past. Media outlets have recognized the brand's efforts, referring to it as a "rebound," a "rebrand," and a "major revival" moment. However, with the recent BBC investigation shedding light on these allegations, Abercrombie & Fitch now faces a significant challenge to its newfound image. In response, the company has announced that it has hired an external law firm to conduct an independent investigation. They have also stated that the current executive leadership team and board of directors were unaware of the allegations against Jeffries and that they have a zero-tolerance policy for any form of abuse, harassment, or discrimination.

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