US lawsuit accuses Abercrombie & Fitch of funding sex-trafficking operation
The company allowed ex-CEO Mike Jeffries "unfettered access" to resources to support his "criminal enterprise", documents allege
A lawsuit against fashion brand Abercrombie & Fitch -- accusing the firm of funding a sex-trafficking operation -- has been filed in New York, the media reported.
The company allowed ex-CEO Mike Jeffries "unfettered access" to resources to support his "criminal enterprise", documents allege.
The lawsuit follows a BBC investigation into allegations Jeffries exploited men at events he hosted while CEO.
A brand spokesperson said the company would not be commenting on the case.
A lawyer for Jeffries said he would also not be commenting.
"The courtroom is where we will deal with this matter," Brian H Bieber said in a statement.
The lawsuit also accuses Jeffries and his British partner Matthew Smith of sex trafficking, sexual misconduct and rape, the BBC reported.
The case has been brought under the New York Adult Survivors Act, which allows people to file civil sexual abuse claims that would have otherwise exceeded the statute of limitations.
It is seeking class action status -- where one or several people sue on behalf of a much larger group.
"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," said Brad Edwards, a civil lawyer who is now representing some of the alleged victims, the BBC reported.
The lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York claims that A&F knew, or should have known, it was providing the "financial lifeblood for a sex trafficking organisation" led by Mike Jeffries between at least 1992 and 2014 -- while he was CEO of the company, the media reported.
It alleges he used A&F's corporate resources including a jet, transportation, and unlimited amounts of cash to facilitate a sex-trafficking venture, which enabled him to accumulate "new victims at an alarming rate" and he also had access to aspiring models, the BBC reported.