Former CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, Mike Jeffries, is under investigation by the FBI over allegations of sexually exploiting men at extravagant parties around the world. The investigation, reported by the BBC, involves federal agents specializing in sex crimes working alongside federal prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York.
The FBI and the Eastern District of New York have chosen not to comment on the ongoing investigation, and Jeffries’ lawyer has also remained silent on the matter.
During the 1990s and early 2000s, Jeffries played a pivotal role in transforming Abercrombie & Fitch from a failing outfitter into a multibillion-dollar teen retailer. The brand’s provocative advertising, which included semi-nude models in catalogs and outside physical stores, helped boost sales and establish its presence in the fashion industry.
According to the BBC’s extensive investigation published in October, Jeffries and his British partner, Matthew Smith, allegedly used these global events to sexually abuse men, leading to accusations of sex trafficking. Several young men claimed they were deceived into attending these events, believing they were networking opportunities to further their careers. Instead, they were subjected to sexual “auditions” and coerced into engaging in sexual activities with Jeffries, Smith, and other male recruits.
The BBC verified these testimonies by conducting interviews with household staff, examining flight tickets and emailed itineraries, and tracking down a middleman named James Jacobson, who denied any wrongdoing. The report prompted calls for an investigation into whether the recruited men were victims of sex trafficking.
One of the alleged victims, David Bradberry, has filed a civil lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch and Jeffries, claiming that the company knowingly supported a sex-trafficking organization and paid “hush money” to victims who spoke out about the abuse.
Jeffries, who left Abercrombie & Fitch in 2014, has also filed a lawsuit against his former employer, alleging that they failed to cover his legal expenses in fighting Bradberry’s suit.
Abercrombie & Fitch, in response to the allegations, stated that they were “appalled and disgusted” by Jeffries’ alleged behavior and launched an independent investigation. The company’s current leadership team claimed to be unaware of the allegations against Jeffries.
As the investigation unfolds, the FBI and federal prosecutors will continue their efforts to gather evidence and interview potential witnesses in the case against Mike Jeffries.