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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Abercrombie & Fitch, former CEO Mike Jeffries accused of running trafficking operation

An actor has filed a class action lawsuit accusing former Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries of running a “widespread sex-trafficking operation.” The lawsuit also alleges that Abercrombie & Fitch had “participation and intentional involvement” in the operation.

Plaintiff David Bradberry claims that Jeffries used his power and influence to prey upon attractive young men by leading them to believe he would hire them as Abercrombie models, and that the clothing company enabled the abuse.

The financial success of the Abercrombie fashion brand fueled Jeffries’ alleged sex trafficking organization, which he ran from at least 1992 through 2014, the lawsuit, filed in District Court for the Southern District of New York Friday, claims. Abercrombie & Fitch declined to comment on the lawsuit, noting that it doesn’t comment on pending litigation, while Jeffries’ attorney didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company enabled Jeffries, allowing him to “sexually terrorize aspiring male models,” the lawsuit alleges.

Jeffries lured attractive young men to his Hamptons estate in what were described as casting interviews. He forced them to strip down, sign non-disclosure agreements, then take drugs and engage in sex acts with himself, his partner Matthew Smith, and others, the lawsuit claims.

It’s not the first time Jeffries has faced such allegations, with a BBC News investigation earlier this month reporting that he faced allegations of exploitation by men recruited for sex events he hosted around the world.

The price of being an Abercrombie model

“The models were led to believe that being sexually abused by the CEO of Abercrombie and his partner at a remote private location arranged by the company was the price that was paid to obtain one of the most coveted roles in the industry— an Abercrombie model,” the lawsuit alleges.

Abercrombie’s support of Jeffries enabled him to “successfully rape, sexually assault, and coercively sex traffic David Bradberry” and others, the suit claims.

The lawsuit accuses the company of prioritizing profits over the law by propagating the notion that succumbing to sexual abuse was a normal part of the casting process.

In the legal filing, Bradberry detailed his own alleged abuse by Jeffries in 2010. It started with a “scout” forcing him to allow the scout to perform oral sex on him in order to secure a meeting with Jeffries. Bradberry was rewarded with cash, the lawsuit claims. Bradberry later met Jeffries in Washington, D.C., and London, England, where he was coerced into “commercial sex acts” with Jeffries and others, it claims.

Bradberry claims he understood that if he complied, he’d be in the running to become an Abercrombie model. He was later invited to a casting event at Jeffries’ Hamptons house, along with six other hopeful models. Bradberry alleges Jeffries and Smith escorted him into a room where two men were having sex, and was given party drugs known as “poppers.”

Bradberry claims Jeffries anally raped him. He was later paid $2,500 and flown to France, where he was allegedly forced to perform more sexual acts on Jeffries. At the time, he still aspired to be an Abercrombie model, the lawsuit states.

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