Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
placeholder article
placeholder article

Feminist Apparel CEO Fired Employees After They Discovered His Sexual Abuse History

The fashion industry has made a plethora of progressive strides in the last year alone. From industry experts who are actively trying to make fashion more inclusively of people with disabilities to top brands who are making their clothing more animal-friendly, inclusivity and basic human decency is a style staple (thankfully). Some brands didn’t get the memo that having good business practices is always fashion-forward—because the CEO of Feminist Apparel apparently fired his staff after they found out that he sexually abused women. (Aren’t CEOs not supposed to make hasty decisions? Or is that just a stereotype in movies?)

According to Refinery29, nine staff members found out that Feminist Apparel CEO Alan Martofel has a history of sexually abusing women, which he admits to. After his employees found out about his abusive past, Martofel allegedly fired all nine staff members—without notice.

The naturally upset employees requested that Martofel resign from his position, however, they were charged instead. Unless these employees were subjected to an at-will employment contract, their dismissal from Feminist Apparel could be considered wrongful termination, Cornel Law School notes.

More startling is the fact that in firing the majority of his staff (there are only two staffers left, Refinery29 adds), Martofel seems to contradict Feminist Apparel’s mission statement. The clothing corporation’s mission is simple: “furthering the conversations, and empowering the people & organizations, that make up the intersectional feminist movement.”

Squandering someone’s voice—in this case, nine employees who were speaking out again Martofel’s troubling history—doesn’t seem empowering. However, Feminist Apparel might not have been constructed with healthy feminist ideology after all.

Feminist Apparel employees confronted Martofel about his past sexually abusive tendencies after they unearthed one of his Facebook messages in 2013. Jezebel reports that in the now-infamous Facebook post, Martofel wrote, “We’ve all either faced this firsthand, seen it, heard a firsthand account of it, or are guilty of it ourselves. I’ve grinded up on women on buses and concerts without their consent. I’ve made out with ‘the drunk chick’ at a party because it was easier. I’ve put a woman’s hand on my dick while she was sleeping.” After his social media confessional, Martofel uses his admission to introduce the creation of his business, Feminist Apparel.

Beyond the fact that it’s hypocritical for someone to fire their employees after they express concern for something you admitted to, there are other troubling motifs behind Martofel’s message. After all, he uses his history of sexually abusing women (yes, grinding against someone without their permission is sexual assault and so is kissing an intoxicated person) and weirdly transforms it into a business that advocates against sexual assault. It’s like monetizing off your crimes, which you committed and which directly affected other people, and attempting to rebrand it as an altruistic business venture that helps inspire other people.

The now-former employees told Refinery29 that Martofel did admit to sexually abusing women in the past, and he even claimed he would resign from his position at the company. When a staff member attempted to execute their job’s duties later that day, they found out that their company credit card wasn’t working. But that wasn’t a solitary incident, as on Saturday the nine employees discovered that their company email addresses became inactive.

To make matters worse, Feminist Apparel is currently hiring for these new vacancies. In a Facebook post, allegedly drafted by Martofel himself, the company writes, “After much deliberation, we have decided to make some necessary changes behind the scenes of Feminist Apparel and, in doing so, are now actively seeking new management to help guide FA into the next chapter of it’s life, which we are extremely excited about. As always, thank you for your support!”

Granted, the “necessary changes” that could probably help Feminist Apparel transition into the future of intersectional feminism and empowerment could have been to fire the admitted sexual abuser on staff (imo).

Chelsea is the Health Editor and How She Got There Editor for Her Campus. In addition to editing articles about mental health, women's health and physical health, Chelsea contributes to Her Campus as a Feature Writer, Beauty Writer, Entertainment Writer and News Writer. Some of her unofficial, albeit self-imposed, responsibilities include arguing about the Oxford comma, fangirling about other writers' articles, and pitching Her Campus's editors shamelessly nerdy content (at ambiguously late/early hours, nonetheless). When she isn't writing for Her Campus, she is probably drawing insects, painting with wine or sobbing through "Crimson Peak." Please email any hate, praise, tips, or inquiries to cjackscreate@gmail.com