Thursday, December 01, 2005

American Apparel infiltrates activist group

American Apparel sent an undercover security agent posing as an activist to spy on preparations for Optative Theatrical Laboratories' Buy Nothing Day jam of the company in Montreal.

He identified our performers and got them thrown to the sidewalk, where a whole new performance insued, which brought out Maurice Charney, American Apparel founder Dov's father, and the Montreal police.

The whole story, videos and pics are online here: www.optative.net/bnd

9 Comments:

Anonymous the mole said...

To OTL,

I want to start by thanking you for my awesome video. I laughed my ass off. Yes, it is I, the �undercover security agent�. I read all the claims on your site, and the urge to respond has finally overcome me.

First, lets clear up a few things. I actually work in the IT department of American Apparel in LA. Sorry, I know security agent was more exciting. I was home in Montreal on vacation the week of your protest. Second, I was not sent by American Apparel, nor did I have any intention of disrupting your protest. I had read about your intentions online, and like most employees of AA who are exposed on a daily basis to the inner workings of the company, thought you were full of shit. I cannot speak for the company, but I can give you some of my opinions once I set the record straight.

Believe what you will, but I was not sent by AA to disrupt your performance. In fact, on that fateful day, I ran into a few other AA employees from Montreal who also felt that you guys were ignorant to the facts and out for press. One of them had called the number on your site, and was told where to meet before the protest, and where the protest was going to take place. If you havent figured it out yet, I was not the only one to �infiltrate� your meeting. We thought it would be fucking funny to bring a video camera and pretend to be part of your crew. Maybe we would even post it on our website. Our elite squad consisted of 3 merchandisers, 1 graphics guy, and 1 computer nerd.

Let me pause and point out a few things. Despite your claims, we had no security at the store before or during your performance. Dov�s father did decide to come to the store, to hear you out and perhaps respond to you. If we were trying to stop your performance, and knew you were coming, why did we let you all in? With video cameras no less? Remember that we filmed the entire thing, before and during the protest. I have put together some footage that I will post if anyone would like to see it. Just respond to this comment.

Basically, you guys walked in, and everyone, Dovs father and friend included, just watched you guys play out your skit. The store manager tried to keep a straight face while Don gave his lines. The models were dressed, and waiting for direction, when you guys were finally asked to leave quite peacefully. The only reason I ever had to reveal my association with AA was because one of your camera men had got into a slight scuffle with a customer and I was trying to push him outside without causing an incident. Outside, Dov�s father Morris came out and offered to give you guys an interview. He was trying to be rational and have a discussion with you, but was met by a complete lack of willingness to discuss any issues.

If you guys don�t believe that we were not trying to stop your protest, check out http://www.americanapparel.net/storefront/movies/6445/scarf01.html Recognize that girl? Yes, she starred alongside your players in the freezing cold even after you were all kicked out. It�s too bad you never actually finished your skit, or handed out more than one flyer to the only guy who would stop to talk to you in the cold.

You don�t have to believe me, but if anyone is still reading this please just respond and I will post the footage. And now for some of my personal opinions.

You say that AA has to live up to its activist credentials. Working there and seeing it, I believe it has. No company is perfect, but very few are on the level of American Apparel. You don�t have to like the ads, and you can say what you will about exploiting women, but I think anorexic supermodels do far more damage to our society than the real women used by AA. I know a lot of the girls in the ads and they certainly don�t feel exploited.

Being from Montreal, I understand the Quebecois affinity for unionization. I was not employed in LA during the union drives, but I can attest to the fact that the factory workers work in incredibly favorable conditions and receive the highest wages in the industry with benefits. Why is it so hard to believe that they rejected unionization?

You say that treating your workers properly should not be a marketing ploy, but in an industry where status quo is just the opposite, it is a natural source of publicity. Have you read the company mission statement on the website? americanapparel.net/mission

American Apparel is run by a lot of young, hard working people who actually care about the company they work for. There are many reasons to like and dislike AA, but at the end of the day, I believe that they do a lot more good than harm. Kind of like when an indie band makes it big. There will always be those who say they sold out; that they are no longer any good. I guess thats inevitable, and maybe a just a sign that you are actually starting to make a difference?

12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May as well just post it...
http://www.jeffkolb.com/video/proteststream.mov
if youre interested in the real story

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