The FBI Is Reportedly Investigating Ex-Abercrombie & Fitch CEO for Sex Crimes

The probe stems from a civil suit that accuses Mike Jeffries and his partner of leading an international sex trafficking operation between 1992 and 2014.

The FBI Is Reportedly Investigating Ex-Abercrombie & Fitch CEO for Sex Crimes
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The former CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, Mike Jeffries, is now under FBI investigation for alleged sexual exploitation and abuse of scores of men who modeled for the brand, per a new BBC report. Jeffries and his partner, Matthew Smith—both of whom are also named as defendants in a civil lawsuit filed in October by former Abercrombie & Fitch model, David Bradberry—are accused of leading an international sex trafficking operation between 1992 and 2014.

The suit initially made headlines just weeks after the premiere of The Abercrombie Guys: The Dark Side Of Cool, a BBC documentary and podcast series that saw eight men—all former models—accuse Jeffries and Smith of engaging in sexual activity with them or “directing” them to have sex with each other at events in London, Paris, and Marrakesh between 2009 and 2015. Other properties owned by Jeffries and Smith in the U.S.—an estate in the Hamptons, to name one—were alleged to have been the site of abuse.

The civil suit claims that Jeffries coerced men to attend these events with money and promises to feature them in an Abercrombie campaign—and that more than 100 men were sexually abused by Jeffries during his tenure as CEO. These claims are also laid bare in the BBC documentary, where Jeffries and Smith are accused of hiring a “scout” to recruit young men who aspired to model for the brand to engage in sex with them or each other for monetary gain and the promise of professional advancement. The middleman, it’s alleged, was charged with “auditioning” them, which would include forcing them to perform or receive oral sex. The operation is said to have expanded exponentially over time with some participants becoming “recruiters” who would receive $1,000 for referrals.

At least four of the accusers who spoke to the BBC claim they were misled about what happened at Jeffries and Smith’s parties—some of which were disguised as “casting events.” Sex, they said they were told, was not expected, while others said they felt the potential of modeling for the famed brand was too much of an incentive to not attend. During these events, some accusers said they felt degraded or worse.

“When I put things together, I believe there is a very good possibility I was drugged and raped,” one man who participated in the BBC doc claimed of one party where he fell asleep and woke up to find a condom inside of him. “I’ll probably never, never know for sure the answer of what happened.”

Now, it’s being reported that the FBI and the federal prosecutors with the Eastern District of New York are sending out subpoenas and speaking to witnesses. Since the federal probe has been reported, Jeffries, Smith, and the FBI have declined to publicly comment.

“Mr. Jeffries will not comment in the press on this new lawsuit as he has likewise chosen not to regarding lawsuits in the past,” Brian Bieber, Jeffries’ lawyer, told the Wall Street Journal in October. “The courtroom is where we will deal with this matter.”

Brad Edwards—Bradberry’s attorney—told the outlet at the time that “Abercrombie profited enormously from the over-sexualized exploitation of young men.”

Meanwhile, Abercrombie & Fitch told the BBC it was “appalled and disgusted” by the allegations against Jeffries and that it has since suspended payments (amounting to $1 million) he was receiving in his retirement.

Jeffries has amassed his fair share of controversies in the decade following his tenure at Abercrombie & Fitch. Previously, he was accused of fostering a racist and discriminatory workplace—and, more broadly, brand—in the 2022 Netflix documentary, White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch. Smith, an unofficial executive in the company, too, drew plenty of ire from executives and was ultimately blamed for revenue loss in 2013.

Well, it looks quite likely that Jeffries and Smith will continue to be held accountable for their wide range of wrongdoing in 2024.

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