Kimbra Lo, a 19-year-old former American Apparel sales associate, claims Charney sexually assaulted her last December when she went to his home to discuss modeling for the company's explicit ads. In an interview on The Today Show, Lo says, "My main priority is to stop what's going on and to expose this man for who he is." Asked for details of her allegations, she stated, "When I went over to his house he attacked me. I made it very clear for him to stop. I said, 'No, please don't touch me,' and he became more aggressive. I didn't feel that there was a way for me to leave safely. I was terrified."
Three other women--Alyssa Ferguson, Marissa Wilson and Tesa Lubans-Dehaven--are co-filing with Lo. Their allegations, however, remain undisclosed as they signed confidentiality agreements while employed with the label.
All American Apparel employees are required to sign confidentiality agreements when they are hired, the company told the New York Times. But employment law specialist Gary E. Phelan says that asking lower-level employees like sales clerks to sign confidentiality agreements is hardly common practice. "That is a red flag," he tells the Times.
"I think all of these claims are contrived," said Charney's lawyer, Peter Schey. "The allegations are false. I think this is an effort to shake down American Apparel. These claims should be resolved in confidential arbitration."
In an earlier suit, filed against American Apparel and its CEO on March 8 in Brooklyn Supreme Court, Irene Morales, 20, alleged that Charney forced himself on her and had her perform sexual acts in order to keep her job as a sales manager in a New York store. That case has been halted and there will be a hearing as to whether or not the suit should move forward.
In response to both lawsuits, American Apparel released statements claiming that they have proof that Charney was in consensual relationships with his alleged victims. In Morales' case, the company claims to have emails from the ex-employee that indicate a mutual relationship. In Lo's case, it's love letters addressed to Charney and compromising photographs of the claimant that the company claims exonerate its CEO.
Take a look at Kimbra Lo's Today Show interview from this morning: