On the front page of the April 14 “Style” section of the New York Times an article was run about Dov Charney, the founder and CEO of American Apparel. What we learned about Charney in the article was shocking, but the reaction from the Times was all too predictable.
After reading the article, Bill Donohue had a few questions that he wanted answered: “What’s wrong with masturbating in front of a woman reporter? What’s wrong with walking around the workplace in your underpants? What’s wrong with charges of sexual molestation being brought by nine women employees in the past six years, five of whom pressed charges last month? What’s wrong with an employer found guilty of sexually harassing women subordinates ‘as a class’? What’s wrong with a CEO using his position of power to beckon female employees to have sex with him against their will?” Nothing really. To some, Charney is considered a “hero.”
All of these questions were sparked by stories about Charney from the Times’ article. The worst that the Times could muster up to say about him is that he is a “morally challenged provocateur” or “an enthusiastic lothario.” And what does Dov think of himself as? Duddy Kravitz, a fictional character described as an “ambitious Jew.”
It is so nice to know that the same New York Times that hyperventilates over a priest accused of grabbing a teenager’s behind while wrestling is capable of putting a positive spin on an accused serial molester. Maybe that’s because Charney’s reputation includes his “crusading for workers’ rights”? However, this reputation is wholly without merit: two years ago, he had to let go of 1,800 workers in an immigration sweep. Sounds very much like operating a sweatshop for minorities.
When was the last time the New York Times found “morally challenged provocateur” priests? When was the last time it described a priest accused of misconduct as an “enthusiastic lothario”? Isn’t there at least an “unenthusiastic” one out there somewhere?
In any event, those who have an unqualified problem with sexual misconduct need to be informed that they are in violation of the New York Times’ 2011 Book of Ethics. It’s the status of the offender that counts—not his behavior.