Abercrombie & Fitch Accused of Funding Former CEO's Alleged Sex Trafficking Operation in Lawsuit

<p>Photo: Picture Alliance/Getty Images</p>

Photo: Picture Alliance/Getty Images

Abercrombie & Fitch is being sued for allegedly funding former CEO Mike Jeffries' sex trafficking operations, which were reported on by the BBC earlier this month.

The complaint, brought forth under the New York Adult Survivors Act (and thus not subject to exceeding a statute of limitations) in the Southern District of New York by former model David Bradberry on behalf of himself and others, claims that the fashion company acted as the "financial lifeblood for a sex trafficking organization" orchestrated by Jeffries within, at minimum, his time as CEO (1992 to 2014), per the BBC. It also accuses Jeffries and his partner Matthew Smith (who wasn't employed by the company) of sexual misconduct and rape.

"Because of this lawsuit and the brave men that have come forward, Abercrombie will have to answer for its many unacceptable actions and inactions that have destroyed the lives of dozens of young men," Brad Edwards, a civil lawyer representing some plaintiffs, remarked.

The suit, which is seeking class-action status, alleges that Jeffries used company resources — including a jet, other forms of transportation and copious amounts of cash — to perpetuate his sex trafficking and recruitment of male victims.

"Abercrombie cared about profiting and showed absolute loyalty to Jeffries, including a willingness to spend copious amounts of money on extravagant drug and sex parties, ignoring multiple red flags of criminality in Jeffries's corporate account activity," the legal documents claim, which also cite a video that allegedly circulated within the Abercrombie & Fitch office showing Jeffries "sniffing what was believed to be cocaine off a man's penis."

A rep for Abercrombie & Fitch told Fashionista the company would not comment on pending litigation. A lawyer for Jeffries declined to comment to the BBC.

This lawsuit comes after the BBC premiered an hour-long investigative film, titled "The Abercrombie Guys: The Dark Side of Cool," which shines a light on allegations of abuse at the company. It eerily mirrors a similar story of a corrupt fashion executive: Former Victoria's Secret CEO Leslie Wexner has been connected to and accused of enabling Jeffrey Epstein's titanic enterprise of exploitation with girls as young as 14 through the likes of borrowing money on his behalf, tax return fraud and more.

Abercrombie & Fitch, like Victoria's Secret, has recently undergone a brand overhaul to distance itself from the exclusive, homogenous, hyper-sexualized marketing of its past, led by Jeffries. The controversial executive stepped down from the company in 2014 after investors called for his dismissal.

We'll continue to update this story as developments emerge.

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