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More On American Apparel

Well, we’ve received the official statement from American Apparel’s Media Relations Director, Cynthia Semon objecting to our coverage of American Apparel and its founder, Dov Charney. In it she attempts to bait us into a he-said-she-said battle. We’re going to pass on that invite.

The boss says the business isn’t anti-union. The boss also says that sexual harassment isn’t a problem in his workplace. The boss said the AA building was built in 1920s, not the 1940s.* Okay. Read the articles in our section. Then read some more articles (here on our blog and elsewhere), and decide for yourself.

Clamor is an independent media outlet that works with everyday people to tell the stories that are important to our communities. We stand by the articles in this special section because they are accurate and resonate with what a lot of people are feeling. We and many of our readers feel duped by a company that has made a lot of money appealing to our progressive ideals.

American Apparel is attempting to do to Clamor what it has done fairly successfully to independent (and corporate) media outlets — squash criticism through threats of legal action, intimidation, or discrediting of the source or the journalist. We’ve been gathering stories from blogs, radio programs, magazines, filmmakers, and TV shows big and small of just how American Apparel has worked to prevent critical stories from being published. It’s a solid model that works well to eliminate dissenting voices and create a chilling effect on future coverage. You’ll be hearing more from us on this when we finish our research. In the meantime, you might want to have a conversation with Weronika Cwir — one of AA’s Media Relations staffers whose current job description seems to have been rewritten to include “trolling the internet to talk trash about Clamor on various blogs.” Tell her we said “Hello!”

We take Semon’s letter as an indication that we have achieved our goal of accurately and passionately critiquing a fashionable sacred cow of liberal style. An apology will not be forthcoming. American Apparel is welcome to make the case to concerned consumers of its products that it can conduct its business without sexism or anti-union tactics. However, to do that will presumably take more substance than PR.

And that is precisely what has American Apparel’s 100% Baby Rib cotton briefs ($30 for a 3-pack) in a bunch.

*Jim Straub’s article actually said, “The company possesses a downtown textile factory straight out of the ’40s, a sexploitation ad campaign from the ’70s, and a marketing strategy so sophisticated it almost seems to come from the future.”

3 Responses to “More On American Apparel”

  1. Brandon Jones Says:

    In the writing of these three articles by this “publication” the writers and or editors must have simply forgotten to look up the word “expose” in the dictionary. You would think an article exposing a company’s claim of being sweatshop free might actually contain some “facts” to back up this claim. “Fact” may also be a word the writers forgot to consider when writing these tabloid pieces. Perhaps when a magazines’ readership hovers around 12 people journalistic practices of research and “proof” don’t mean much. Inserting items from the rumor mill (some models may be as young as 15) may serve to shock and astonish the local soccer moms but mean nothing to a reader who has taken a basic college writing class including a study of formal fallacies. Something these authors may also want to consider doing before their mouths can contain no more foot. The next time these writers slam a company that while less than perfect is doing good things for their employees and making great clothes they may want to have some cold hard facts in their hands. At least try to convince us that you aren’t upset about their sex based ads because you are so ugly your mom wouldn’t hand out your class pictures.
    The next time a union with a horrible record of running sweatshops and taking money for their own gain while doing nothing for the welfare of their workers comes in and wants to run your little rag give them a big round of applause for me. Oh yeah, dont forget to bend over!
    From a union employed liberal progressive who belives in facts and honesty.

  2. VFPDissident Says:

    American Apparel has also opened a Tel Aviv store this year in violation of the international boycott and divestment campaign against apartheid Israel and apparently plans to open more.
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  3. » Blog Archive » “Getting a little bored” with sweat-free: the ethics of American Apparel Says:

    [...] Clamour Magazine unveiled a scathing report on the business ethics of American Apparel, including criticisms of its sexual ad campaigns, union-busting activities, and accusations of a culture of sexual harrassment. The report, which appears in the mag’s current issue, is comprised of three articles, which can be found here. According to Clamour’s blog, AA is planning to sue. Adbusters is also following the story. An excerpt from one of the articles: The real story of American Apparel’s ads is how the company has used the bodies of its barely legal employees to shore up its appeal to the progressive left by implanting anti-sweatshop shtick into every article generated by its low-budget, sexist ads. And the AA demographic – low-wage-worker-defending (but high-wage-earning), guilt-ridden lefties who want nothing more than to assuage their own angst-ridden middle-class anxiety about having succeeded in the capitalist world by consuming with conscience (and the more conscience, the better: sweat-free, fair-trade, organic, vegan, and sustainable) – ate it up. [...]