This entire thing is moronic. Anyone with half a brain realizes it was Dov himself who brought the company to the brink of bankruptcy not once but twice. Fashion visionary? Yes. Electric personality? Yup. Competent manager? Without a doubt no. All one needs to do is look at the results of the company over the last decade for proof. He did that, he ran it. He was CEO, no one else.
In fact it was Charney who “drained” the company of resources with his incompetence and his behavior (that lead to legal troubles and settlements). He drained it so much twice he had to go hat in hand first to Lion Capital and then the Standard in order to save the company from liquidation. For those who may be confused and clearly someone is very much so, that would have meant debtors would have bought/auctioned the brand name, shut down the US facilities and then produced the clothes overseas. So unless Mr. Anonymous was going to move, they would have been looking at an unemployment check. Standard, with its equity stake has committed not to do that and has backed that to date.
What is the problem with what they have done?
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Further, if Charney was so committed to the brand and the workers, why isn’t he speaking out to quell this nonsense that can do nothing but distract employees and management and serves absolutely no positive purpose? The company is by no means on solid footing. It is getting there but make no mistake, is not there yet. Does he want a revolt inside? Does he want dysfunction at all levels? Even he has to realize Standard is the last man standing backing this thing. If it goes south from here, it is shut the doors and sell off the assets and good luck finding work folks. Why is he being silent? All it would take is a public show of support from him for Standard and management. Why nothing? Is he behind it?
The question needs asking…..
American Apparel may have fired its founder Dov Charney last year, but new management is learning that he’s far from gone.
A group of Charney supporters within the company, who operate behind the name and hashtag#TeamDov, have been rallying support for the founder and slamming American Apparel’s new executives and investors through a digital campaign that management is struggling to quell. One employee has been sending pro-Charney mass emails to American Apparel employees through a variety of anonymous addresses during the past two months, causing enough ruckus that CEO Paula Schneider was forced to address the messages in a staff-wide memo on Feb. 19, BuzzFeed News has learned.
“Over the last couple of months, we all have received ‘blast’ emails from an anonymous outsider criticizing American Apparel, its management and its policies,” Schneider, who started as CEO last month, wrote in a message obtained by BuzzFeed News. “Some of the emails have even been designed to appear like they are being sent from inside the company. I have refrained from responding to these emails because I feel they do not deserve our collective attention.”
She continued: “That said, I cannot let today’s email — which stooped to personally attacking hard-working members of the American Apparel team — go without a response. As a company, we embrace free speech and social commentary by our employees. That is a valued part of our culture. But today’s email provides an opportunity for me to reach out to all of you. I encourage you not to be influenced by unfounded personal attacks or baseless threats about job security sent by outsiders who do not have the company’s best interests at heart.”
The specific email Schneider is referring to accused Standard General, the hedge fund with the most financial control of the company, of “draining” American Apparel and forcing cutbacks at the retailer. The email included a link to a New York Poststory about a lawsuit against Standard General, in which unsecured creditors of RadioShack are accusing the hedge fund of timing its investment in RadioShack to maximize a payout from the company’s recent bankruptcy, raising concern that American Apparel could suffer the same fate. The email noted that Colleen Brown, American Apparel’s newly-appointed chairperson, was brought onto the board last year by Standard General (though it incorrectly identified her as CFO) and that new General Counsel Chelsea Grayson was Brown’s pick.
“We need Standard General OUT,” the employee wrote in the Feb. 19 email. “We have a bunch of consultants draining our company sitting in a room all day making 6 figures a month. THAT IS NOT AMERICAN APPAREL.”
While Schneider wrote that the emails came from an outsider, BuzzFeed News confirmed they originated from a current employee, who requested anonymity citing fear of retribution. The employee said they have roughly 5,000 americanapparel.net addresses and sent the messages in batches of 500; multiple employees have told the anonymous emailer that the messages have been deleted from their inboxes as American Apparel’s management works to stem the tide.
A spokesperson for American Apparel, declined to comment.
The pro-Charney insurgency shows how tightly a founder’s personality can become entwined with a company. Emails prior to the Feb. 19 message centered around gaining signatures and statements for the TeamDov website, which says it’s “a statement of support for Dov Charney and his business vision at American Apparel from workers and executives at all levels of the company and around the world.” Hundreds have since signed the petition.
One of the anonymous emails described the campaign as being about more than just Charney, saying it is also a response to American Apparel “being taken over by corporate Wall Street guys who don’t care about the company or the brand or the image or its employees.”
Charney, who founded American Apparel in 1998, was served with a termination letter in June for a long list of reasons including: breaching his fiduciary duty, violating company policy, sexual harassment, and misusing corporate assets, accusations that Charney has called “baseless.” Charney was working as a paid consultant for American Apparel during an internal investigation that began in July, but was fired in December; the #TeamDov website was born almost immediately after.
Charney pledged 43% of his stake in the company to Standard General this summer, in a deal that apparently soured. He told Bloomberg News in late December that the hedge fund conspired with a board member to oust him after agreeing to reinstate him.
He told the news outlet: “I gave them my entire life’s work and they agreed to put me back in, but instead they used this investigation to fire me. They betrayed me.” Charney has not commented on the current round of anonymous emails and the response by management.
Standard General, for its part said last December it “supported the independent, third-party and very thorough investigation into the allegations against Mr. Charney, and respect the board of director’s decision to terminate him based on the results of that investigation.”