American Apparel just can’t shake its founder and former chief executive Dov Charney. After firing Charney last June “for cause,” the company has now taken out a restraining order against him. The Delaware Court of Chancery granted the temporary order on Monday, according to a filing, barring Charney from “directly or indirectly seeking the removal of any member of the Company’s board of directors, including by instigating, encouraging, acting in concert with or assisting any third party seeking to do so.” Charney has also been restrained from saying anything negative about American Apparel to the press or any other third party.
Charney, you’ll recall, has quite the scandalous history. Here I’ll quote my colleague Jordan Weissmann, whose description of Charney at the time of his firing in 2014 really can’t be beat:
...the man who sold fashion-forward shoppers on pricey, made-in-the-U.S.A. basics using reliably porny ads, who was known to traipse around his company’s offices in his underwear, who famously pleasured himself in front of a female magazine reporter, who told said reporter, “I'm not saying I want to screw all the girls at work ... but if I fall in love at work it's going to be beautiful and sexual,” who perhaps unsurprisingly faced sexual harassment allegations from former employees, and who eventually saw his brainchild reduced to a penny stock as it bled money and sales while piling on debt.
Since that time, Charney has refocused his efforts on creating as much chaos for American Apparel’s current management as possible. Earlier this year, Charney assembled 300 former and current American Apparel workers for a secret meeting in Los Angeles, where he appealed to them to reinstate him as CEO. Several days later, some of those American Apparel employees filed two complaints with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that they had been intimidated and banned from interacting with the press. In late March, Charney’s attorney announced that the ousted exec would file a lawsuit against his former company seeking $40 million in damages for breaches of his employment contract. Shortly after that, American Apparel began laying off workers, and leaked internal documents showed that its sales were tumbling, down nearly 11 percent as of March 31.
For a while, American Apparel seemed to think giving Charney the silent treatment would work. “I can’t concern myself with Dov’s agenda,” Paula Schneider, the company’s new CEO, told the New York Times in early April. Clearly, that didn’t work. But a restraining order might do the trick.