Abercrombie & Fitch confirmed Wednesday that it has suspended additional retirement income for former chief executive officer Mike Jeffries.
The action was first reported by the BBC, which released a documentary last month alleging exploitation claims by men who claimed they were recruited for sexual encounters while Jeffries held the top job. Jeffries reportedly had been receiving lifetime bonuses each year of approximately $1 million.
Some of Jeffries’ accusers subsequently filed a civil lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch for allegedly funding “a criminal enterprise” that Jeffries and his partner Matt Smith orchestrated between 1992 and 2014. After turning the preppy label into a multibillion-dollar brand that was associated by many for its ad campaigns with muscular men, Jeffries exited the top job at Abercrombie & Fitch in 2014.
An attorney for Jeffries did not acknowledge media requests Tuesday or Wednesday. Attorneys for his accusers did not respond immediately to requests for comment Wednesday.
The BBC had led a two-year investigation that included interviews with 12 men who were allegedly propositioned, including eight who took legal action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In “The Abercrombie Guys” documentary and podcast, some of them claimed they had been exploited or abused at the gatherings, which were said to have been held at Jeffries’ former home in the Hamptons, at Claridge’s in London, La Mamounia in Morocco and Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in the South of France. The events were said to have been held between 2009 and 2015, and the men were allegedly recruited by a middleman, James Jacobson. The men allegedly received cash for sexual acts.
In response to the allegations in the BBC’s “The Abercrombie Guys” documentary and podcast, an Abercrombie & Fitch spokesperson said the company was “appalled and disgusted” and had initiated an independent investigation. Asked Wednesday about the status of that investigation by a law firm and whether the suspension of Jeffries’ retirement pay would be a permanent decision or one that has legal ramifications, another company spokesperson said, “We have no additional information to provide at this time.”
According to the BBC, David Bradberry alleged that at the age of 23 he was introduced in 2010 to Jacobson by an agent, who described him as the gatekeeper to “the owners” of A&F, but said there was no mention of sex. Bradberry alleged that at their meeting, Jacobson suggested Bruce Weber — then A&F’s official photographer — should take his picture. “[Jacobson] made it clear to me that unless I let him perform oral sex on me, that I would not be meeting with Abercrombie & Fitch or Mike Jeffries,” Bradberry claimed to the BBC. A spokesperson for Weber declined comment last month.