BBC: former Abercrombie & Fitch CEO hosted events where young men were exploited and abused

Originally published at: BBC: former Abercrombie & Fitch CEO hosted events where young men were exploited and abused | Boing Boing


“Eyes wide open” heralds a shift from pro-forma denials of sexual misconduct to asserting the relevant prerogatives. It’s nuts, but it is what it is.

Like many twisted new societal norms, this victim-blaming wouldn’t have been attempted as a reputable defense tactic in a corporate case like this before 2015. Any competent PR person would have shut it down.

It is what it is because all manner of narcissists, sex pests, grifters, fascists, racists, greedpigs, bullies and tr0lls have been emboldened by someone who embodies all of those characteristics occupying the White House and building a movement around himself.

This CEO [EDIT: CEO’s pimp] is trying this “defense” because he’s confident at least 25% of the adult population will now find it acceptable.


I will blame Trump for a great many things, but the “they knew what they were getting into” defense has been common for a long, long time. It’s only a very slight deviation from “Look at how she was dressed! She wanted it. She knew what she was doing.” Sure, by 2015, this defense had become slightly less acceptable to actually say in public, but a whole lot of people never stopped thinking that way.


The old “it can’t be abuse if you know I’m a lech who’s going to abuse you” defense. AKA, “the Heff.”


In individual sexual assault cases, definitely. But a corporation or its executives wouldn’t have rolled it out in such a cavalier and matter-of-fact way through a comms person before 2015. All kinds of dodges and euphemisms were rolled out in high-profile corporate sexual harassment cases over the years, but they’d usually stop short of saying “she was asking for it” – especially outside the courtroom like this – because they knew there would be a widespread PR backlash that would affect the share value. They don’t feel they have to worry about that anymore.


Maybe, but I don’t hang stuff like this on Trump. This is just standard corporate damage control. They know a lawsuit is incoming, and they don’t want to admit fault this early. I think the difference is that, especially with the victims in this case being men, before 2015, and before MeToo, and before people like Terry Crews coming forward to make it clear this happens to men also, victims in situations like this just never came forward. It was happening, it just never became public knowledge, so corporations rarely needed to respond to something like this.


That’s a good point. As much as we’ve backslid on many matters since 2015, we’ve also made progress in terms of awareness and de-stigmatisation regarding sexual assault and harassment.


They “eyes wide open” quotation doesn’t come from the company. It is from a statement by the man who allegedly recruited the models.

Mr Jacobson - the middleman, now aged 70 - said in a statement through his lawyer that he took offence at the suggestion of “any coercive, deceptive or forceful behaviour on my part” and had “no knowledge of any such conduct by others”.

He said he did not recall making promises of modelling opportunities. “Any encounter I had was fully consensual, not coercive,” he said. “Everyone I came into contact with who attended these events went in with their eyes wide open.”

ETA: Abercrombie & Fitch say that have brought in outside lawyers to conduct an investigation:


True. He’s still acting as a surrogate and apologist for the CEO and the practises that his company condoned for years. This middleman/procurer’s one bold statement has already hobbled the corporation’s Sgt-Schultz damage-control scramble. Whether or not the company issues a statement deploring what this sleazeball says or tries to make him the fall guy is dependent on if he knows where the bodies are buried (and these types always know).


Shocked Futurama GIF


Mike Jeffries; more ugly inside and out than the Surgeon General of Los Angeles.



I remember reading an article about him years ago. They talked about the plastic surgery addiction and his obsession with youthful masculinity, using it to dance around his creepy behaviour with the models and employees. The other execs interviewed took the usual “what an eccentric scamp” line about it, but obviously knew what was going on.


“The eight men who attended the events said they were recruited by a middleman, who they described as having a missing nose covered with a snakeskin patch.”

They had a Bond villain henchman doing their dirty work! There’s even a creepy photo. It’s surreal how messed up the whole thing is.

Rich and powerful men have been getting away with this kind of exploitative, evil fuckery forever. I really hope some justice comes out of this for the men who were hurt by Jeffries, Smith and Jacobsen and hopefully some consequences for those three.

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