Abercrombie & Fitch Ex-CEO Mike Jeffries Accused Of Exploiting Men
In a shocking revelation, Mike Jeffries, the former CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, has been accused of involvement in the exploitation of men for sex during the brand’s peak years in the 1990s and early 2000s. This disturbing story has come to light through a BBC investigation titled “The Abercrombie Guys: The Dark Side of Cool,” which aired on BBC One.
Jeffries’ Controversial Legacy at Abercrombie & Fitch
Mike Jeffries took the helm of Abercrombie & Fitch in 1992 and transformed it from a struggling company into a successful brand known for its focus on sex appeal, featuring shirtless male models and provocative advertisements. However, his tenure was marked by controversial statements and policies, including his preference for “cool” and “attractive” individuals wearing the brand’s clothing and discriminatory practices based on appearance, race, or sexual orientation.
The Allegations Uncovered
According to the BBC investigation, a British interior designer named Matthew Smith was allegedly involved in these operations. Jeffries stepped down as CEO in 2014 amidst declining sales, receiving a retirement package of approximately $25 million. Now, he faces allegations of sexual exploitation from men who claim they were recruited by a middleman named James Jacobson.
Jacobson, as per the allegations, approached mostly young, aspiring models or actors, offering them opportunities to meet Jeffries and Smith, promising career advancement. He is accused of paying these individuals to attend sex events hosted by Jeffries and Smith in their New York residences and luxury hotels worldwide.
Victims Speak Out
The BBC interviewed 12 men who described attending or organizing these events between 2009 and 2015. Eight of them expressed feeling harmed by the experience, with some alleging coercion, manipulation, or abuse at the hands of Jeffries and Smith. Participants were reportedly required to sign non-disclosure agreements and were given gift cards to purchase Abercrombie & Fitch clothing for the events. They also claimed they were expected to engage in sexual acts with Jeffries, Smith, Jacobson, or other men present.
The Experience of One Victim
One victim, aspiring model David Bradberry, recounted his experience with Jacobson. Bradberry, then 23 years old, claimed that Jacobson insinuated he could arrange a meeting with Abercrombie’s official photographer but explicitly stated that this meeting was contingent on Bradberry allowing Jacobson to perform oral sex on him. Bradberry, feeling coerced, described it as the price of fame and compliance. After the encounter, Jacobson allegedly gave him $500.
Legal Implications and Responses
Two former US prosecutors who reviewed the BBC’s evidence called for an investigation to determine if Jeffries and Smith could be charged with sex trafficking, defined as getting an adult to travel for sexual purposes through force, fraud, or coercion. Jeffries and Smith did not respond to the BBC’s requests for comment, while Jacobson denied any wrongdoing. Abercrombie & Fitch issued a statement expressing being “appalled and disgusted” by the alleged behavior.
This shocking revelation has raised significant concerns about the conduct of powerful individuals within the fashion industry and the need for accountability in cases of exploitation. The investigation continues to unfold as the victims’ stories shed light on a disturbing chapter in Abercrombie & Fitch’s history.
Get The Latest Updates From The World Of Music, Movies, TV, Culture, And Fashion In Musical States Magazine. Please Follow Us On Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, And LinkedIn To Receive Instantaneous Updates