May 20, 2014
Dov Charney Firing Means No Longer Having To Choose Between ‘Labor’ and ‘Not Being Rapey’
From my window, I can see the massive American Apparel factory at Sixth and Alameda, in Los Angeles. Inside the fortress, seamstresses — regardless of immigration status — earn $10 to $18 per hour, according to the Financial Times (which probably checked). I’ve always thought it was more important, in my personal Maslow’s Hierarchy, to vote “yes” with my money on paying seamstresses $10 to $18 per hour than it was to vote “no” with my money and Send American Apparel Founder Dov Charney A Lesson About Not Raping Everybody. Your Maslow’s Hierarchy (that is not really what Maslow’s Hierarchy is, FYI) may differ!
It was a good conversation prompter, every time I had someone in my car and we were passing the factory — emblazoned with “Legalize LA,” which is actually about immigration and not dank weed — to ask them which they found more important. A lot of people said “not being rapey.” I said “paying the women a living wage.” Because it came down to the numbers. There are 5000 workers in that massive factory — even after Charney was forced to let almost 2000 go because they were undocumented. Five thousand women able to feed their children and pay their electric bills — maybe even have a beater they’re able to regularly gas up, insure, and replace belts on — despite not having a diploma from Brown, vs., I don’t know, how many women can Dov Charney possibly wave his dick at in a year? A hundred?
To me, it came down to Utilitarianism — evaluating absolute good by unit of people helped, or “happiness” created, vs. how many people have to look at Dov Charney’s hairless ferret. Of course, Utilitarianism can be pretty easily perverted to HITLER. This is why philosophy sucks.
Luckily, I am not 23 and would look stone cold moronic trying to squeeze into American Apparel’s naked hipster togs, so I never actually had to vote with my money either way.
And now that Dov Charney’s been canned by his board of directors — NEVER GO PUBLIC, fellow entrepreneurs!!1! — you don’t have to decide either. Unless his board of directors decides they can make a tidier profit by moving to Bangladesh. China is too expensive now, you know.