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American Apparel: Charney's Bad Behavior Was Very, Very Expensive

Dov Charney, chairman and chief executive officer of American Apparel, stands for a portrait in a company retail store in New York on July 29, 2010
Dov Charney, chairman and chief executive officer of American Apparel, stands for a portrait in a company retail store in New York on July 29, 2010Photograph by Keith Bedford/Bloomberg

Dov Charney’s behavior has never been a secret. For starters, as the chief executive of American Apparel, he occasionally walked around the Los Angeles headquarters in his underwear. He was open about his libertine attitudes toward sex in general and sex in the workplace in particular, at one point “putting on a show” for a journalist on assignment for Jane magazine.

So when Charney was fired last week “for cause,” it was reasonable to wonder “why now?” In his termination letter, posted on BuzzFeed yesterday, the board accuses him of sexually harassing employees, paying off some of them with “significant” severance packages, and refusing to participate in sexual harassment training.