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American Apparel ‘sex slave’ claims she thought it was standard behavior in fashion

I think we’re going to start putting up a dope’s section on

NY – from – The woman behind the $250million lawsuit accusing the founder of American Apparel of turning her into a teenage sex slave said she assumed that kind of behavior was standard in the fashion and retail industry.

Irene Morales [pictured], 20, filed a lawsuit last week against CEO Dov Charney which contained explosive claims that he forced her to perform sex acts on him for eight months and at one point held her prisoner in his New York apartment.

In an interview with NBC’s Today show, Miss Morales was asked why she did not report the crime sooner or tell any friends and relatives despite months of alleged abuse.

She said: ‘It’s something very shameful and embarrassing. I didn’t really want to tell anyone about it.

‘I thought it was almost normal. I thought everyone in the retail, fashion industry had to go through something similar to that, but I didn’t think anything else of it.’

Asked why she returned to the company again and again even after she was hospitalized for having an emotional breakdown, she claimed that it was for financial reasons.

She said: ‘I had looked for other jobs but nothing paid as well and I had financial responsibilities. American Apparel pay pretty well. I had to go back.’

In response to the claims, American Apparel said Miss Morales had made ‘a number of extortion-like threats to expose the company to a threatened avalanche of litigation and negative publicity’, according to NBC.

They also claimed she left the company ‘without complaint and resigned with a letter of gratitude regarding her positive experience at the company’.

Miss Morales said she finally decided to speak out as she did not want it to happen to anyone else.

‘I was victimized by Dov Charney, and I won’t stand for this anymore. If there are possibly other women out there, they should absolutely speak up about this, because it’s wrong in every way and shape and form.’

A judge has ordered a hearing for later this month. The 20-year-old will have to show why the case shouldn’t move to binding arbitration, which American Apparel claims is required.

The company told NBC that Miss Morales, like all employees, signed a confidential arbitration agreement that says she won’t sue.

Asked what grounds they have to sue, Morales’ lawyer, Eric Baum, said she was forced to sign the agreement.

He said: ‘She would not have gotten a job if she didn’t sign it. The more important question to ask is, “Why is the company so focused on confidentiality? Why are they trying to silence Irene? What don’t they want people to know about her and this case?”‘

Mr Baum also twice told the Today show that the victims of sexual assault often remain silent for months and even years afterwards because they have so much shame and sometimes fear.

He said: ‘The victims of sexual harassment often remain silent. They often don’t know what to do in a situation. In Irene’s case, she needed the job. She went back to the company and immediately realized that it was a bad decision.’

Charney and American Apparel have faced sexual harassment claims in the past, none of which made it to court.

He has admitted to dropping his trousers during meetings, running the office with a sexually charged atmosphere and referring to women as ‘sluts’ which he claims is a term of endearment for him.

The case continues.


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