Ex-CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch accused of sex exploitation of men

A BBC investigation has found allegations of exploitation from men recruited for sex events hosted by Mike Jeffries and his British partner, Matthew Smith. The network used a middleman to find young men for these events, with eight men attending, some of whom alleged they were exploited or abused. The couple's middleman denied any wrongdoing and said men went into these events "with their eyes wide open." Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F), which also owns the Hollister brand, said it was "appalled and disgusted" by the alleged behavior.

Two former US prosecutors who independently reviewed documents and testimony uncovered by the BBC have called for an investigation to determine whether charges for sex trafficking could be brought. Under US law, sex trafficking includes getting an adult to travel to another state or country to have sex for money by using force, fraud, or coercion. Over two decades from the 1990s, Mike Jeffries transformed A&F from a failing heritage outfitter into a multi-billion-dollar teen retailer by selling sex appeal, with preppy all-American shirtless male store models and provocative billboards.

The BBC has now uncovered allegations that the fashion mogul exploited young adult men for sex at events he hosted in his New York residences and luxurious hotels around the world, including in London, Paris, Venice, and Marrakesh. As part of a two-year investigation, the BBC has spoken to 12 men who described attending or organizing events involving sex acts run for Jeffries, 79, and his British partner, Mr. Smith, 60, between 2009 and 2015. Half the men who told the BBC about their recruitment alleged they had been initially misled about the nature of the events or not told sex was involved. All were paid.

Bradberry accepted an invitation to a daytime event at Mike Jeffries' former home in the Hamptons, New York, where he spoke to Jeffries and Matthew Smith about his aspirations to be an A&F model. He was told to buy an outfit with some A&F gift cards, making it feel "legitimate" and "official". At the Hamptons, Jeffries held "poppers" under his nose and later had sex with him. Men who attended these events told the BBC that Mike Jeffries and Matthew Smith would engage in sexual activity with about four men or "direct" them to have sex with each other. Afterward, staff at the event handed them envelopes filled with thousands of dollars in cash.

The BBC investigation also uncovered details of the "well-oiled machine" organizing sex events for Jeffries, in which "Recruiters" would find men to attend his events and receive between $500 and $1,000 from Mr. Jacobson for every referral. Most of the men allege that Mr. Jacobson propositioned or sexually "auditioned" them by requesting or offering to perform oral sex before being introduced to Jeffries and Mr. Smith. A personal groomer was hired to intimately shave body hair from some of the men attending events, an experience some described as "dehumanising." All the men were required to sign non-disclosure agreements, and a small group of Mr. Jeffries' personal staff, dressed in A&F uniforms, supervised the men during the sex acts and handed them money. It is alleged that Mr. Jeffries funded the entire operation, including the money for referral fees, while Mr. Smith organized the cash payments.


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