March 2, 2024

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Former Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Sues Over Denied Legal Fee Coverage

The ex-CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, Mike Jeffries, is taking legal action against the company for refusing to cover his legal fees following allegations of running a sex trafficking operation. Jeffries, accused in a lawsuit of leading a “criminal enterprise” funded by the retailer, had previously been indemnified by Abercrombie & Fitch for claims arising from his position.

The lawsuit, filed in Delaware state court, highlights the contractual agreement where A&F committed to covering legal expenses for Jeffries related to his role. This included civil, criminal, administrative, or other claims. However, the company has reportedly rejected Jeffries’ demand for coverage, leading to his legal action against the brand.

Jeffries stepped down as CEO in 2014 with a retirement package valued at around $25 million, part of which has been suspended. The legal dispute arises from a BBC investigation that exposed allegations of Jeffries and his partner exploiting young adult men for sex at events globally.

Following the BBC revelations, A&F faced a civil lawsuit accusing the company of funding a sex-trafficking operation led by Jeffries and his partner between 1992 and 2014. The lawsuit, seeking class action status, alleges sexual abuse by Jeffries against more than 100 men during his tenure as CEO, utilising corporate resources for the illicit venture.

Jeffries, responding to the sex trafficking lawsuit, made initial demands for legal fee coverage, claiming rejection and subsequent disregard by A&F. The legal action asserts that Jeffries, as Abercrombie’s CEO, acted as the company’s agent in recruiting victims under the guise of legitimate modelling opportunities.

In his lawsuit, Jeffries demands reimbursement for incurred legal fees and expenses related to the sex-trafficking lawsuit, along with ongoing advance payments. Abercrombie & Fitch has not yet provided a comment on the legal proceedings, maintaining its stance of not commenting on pending litigation.