Notoriously lewd American Apparel founder Dov Charney allegedly held a former female employee as a sex slave in his Manhattan apartment shortly after she suffered a nervous breakdown, according to a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn.
Irene Morales, 20, sued Charney, 42, on Friday, seeking $250 million from him, American Apparel and its board of directors.
The suit claims the harassment began in the summer of 2007 when Charney told Morales — then a 17-year-old high school student from Bed-Stuy — that he'd fire her as a saleswoman at the Chelsea store if she didn't send him nude photos of herself and detail her sexual past, the suit contends.
On Morales' 18th birthday Charney allegedly invited her to his apartment, where he answered the door in his briefs and “forced her to go down on her knees” and perform a sex act, the suit alleges. "He then threw her on the bed and … for several hours forced her to perform additional sexual acts."
Charney's attorney, Stuart Slotnick, told amNewYork: "The company believes the plaintiff is engaged in an abuse of the legal system in order to extort money from American Apparel.”
American Apparel said that Morales “resigned with a letter of gratitude regarding her positive experience at the company" and agreed to settle disputes with an arbitrator and not to sue.
Morales' attorney told the Daily News that she didn't immediately quit because "she needed the job." He also said she may file criminal charges.
Morales, who was promoted to store manager, told the News that the forced sex went on for eight months, but she was too traumatized to report it. Morales said she was hospitalized in 2008 because of the harassment and has “serious psychiatric injuries from which she will never recover."
She reportedly met up with Charney in Los Angeles last summer, where he offered her a job, but she declined after being "subjected to extreme psychological abuse,” the suit said.