Abercrombie, ex-CEO sued over sex abuse, trafficking

Abercrombie & Fitch is in the middle of a major comeback, but the retailer is still being haunted by the alleged sins of former chief executive Mike Jeffries

The company was sued Friday for turning a blind eye to Jeffries’ alleged misconduct, court records show. He’s accused of running a sprawling sex trafficking ring that exploited young men hoping to become models for the brand. 

The suit alleges that Jeffries, who’s also listed as a defendant, sexually abused numerous men under the guise it would land them coveted modeling contracts. 

It comes just weeks after BBC published an investigation into Jeffries and Abercrombie that made similar accusations. 

In response, a company spokesperson told CNBC it does not comment on pending litigation. However, after the BBC story was published, the company said it was “appalled and disgusted” by Jeffries’ alleged behavior. It said it had contacted an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation into the issues BBC raised. 

“The company’s current executive leadership team and board of directors were not aware of the allegations of sexual misconduct by Mr. Jeffries,” the company said at the time.

“For close to a decade, a new executive leadership team and refreshed board of directors have successfully transformed our brands and culture into the values-driven organization we are today. We have zero tolerance for abuse, harassment or discrimination of any kind.”

Brian Bieber, Jeffries’ attorney, didn’t deny the claims when contacted by CNBC.

“Mr. Jeffries will not comment in the press on this new lawsuit, as he has likewise chosen not to regarding litigation in the past. The courtroom is where we will deal with this matter,” Bieber said in an email.

David Bradberry, who brought the suit, claims he was recruited for a modeling opportunity in 2010 and introduced to a scout who said he was working on behalf of the brand.

“He then made it clear to David Bradberry that he held the key to the next level in the Abercrombie process and that unless he let the scout perform oral sex on him, Bradberry would not be meeting with Abercrombie or its CEO, Michael Jeffries,” the lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, states. 

Bradberry was then assaulted by the scout and paid, the lawsuit states. 

Soon after, he was invited to a casting event at Jeffries’ house in the Hamptons that Bradberry assumed was a “legitimate Abercrombie-sponsored function” because it included a meeting with the CEO and he was forced to wear the brand’s clothes for the event, the lawsuit states. 

But instead of a professional casting event, Bradberry was soon raped by Jeffries and forced to take poppers, a type of drug that made him feel lightheaded, the suit states. 

“Amidst the confusion caused by the poppers, David Bradberry began to focus on the four older, larger, physically fit men who appeared to be security guards observing the activity in the room,” the lawsuit alleges. 

“These imposing men, dressed in Abercrombie…

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