The former CEO of clothing brand Abercrombie & Fitch is reportedly being investigated by the FBI for alleged sex crimes.
Mike Jeffries was the CEO of the fashion label during its heyday in the 1990s and early 2000s, before stepping down in 2014
Jeffries and his partner Matthew Smith are now being investigated by federal agencies following allegations in a BBC documentary and podcast that they sexually exploited and abused young men at parties they hosted in the US and worldwide.
Eight men told the BBC they had attended events hosted by the couple between 2009 and 2015.
Documents uncovered by the BBC revealed these were highly organised events facilitated by a network of recruiters and a middleman.
The middleman would allegedly sexually “audition” the men by requesting oral sex or performing it on them
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Then at the events, Jeffries and Smith would engage in sexual activity with the young men or “direct” them to have sex with each other.
Most of the men who spoke to the BBC said they felt degraded.
“My feeling of being in that room was: an animal. I was not a human to any of these people, I was a body. I was being presented to someone, to do what they wanted with,” former model Barrett Pall told BBC.
“What happened to me changed my life – and not for the better,” he added.
On Wednesday, the BBC reported that FBI had started an investigation with agents interviewing and issuing subpoenas to potential witnesses.
Jeffries and Smith are also facing a civil lawsuit, accused of sexually abusing more than 100 young men in a sex-trafficking operation funded by Abercrombie & Fitch.
The suit alleges that young men were deceived into attending events “under the guise of providing them with the modelling opportunity of their dreams – becoming an Abercrombie model”.
The civil suit claims that A&F gave Jeffries access to resources to host these events during his tenure as CEO.
In a statement, Abercrombie & Fitch told the BBC it was “appalled and disgusted” by the allegations. The brand has since suspended a substantial part of his retirement payments totalling $1M US a year.
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