On the heels of being named in a damning lawsuit, alleging that its president and Chief Operating Officer, Oscar Feldenkreis, subjects employees to “highly offensive homophobic, racial, and ethnic slurs” in violation of both federal law and New York City Human Rights Law, Perry Ellis has settled suit. According to the lawsuit, which was filed In October by Joseph Cook, a senior executive of Perry Ellis, Feldenkreis "has instilled a racist and homophobic policy, including banning African Americans and gay individuals from all ad campaigns for the brands." The complaint further alleges that this includes, but is not limited to, “admonishing Mr. Cook and his team to make sure there are ‘no blacks in my ads’ or ‘anyone who looked too gay’ and telling Mr. Cook he could easily avoid jury service by ‘telling them you hate niggers and fags.’”
Well, as of this week, the Miami-based apparel company said the lawsuit has been “amicably resolved” and that the plaintiff, Cook, is slated to resign from the company later this month based upon his own desire to do so. Interestingly, it appears Mr. Cook may have been bought off by the company, as he retracts a number of the statements upon which his lawsuit is founded. According to the New York Post:
Perry Ellis provided a statement on behalf of Cook, who is openly gay, in which he appears to retract the allegations in his complaint filed in Manhattan federal court. “Perry Ellis is a diverse and inclusive company, and has always been so,” Cook said. “My overall tenure at the company demonstrates that the comments I complained about are not reflective of the overall culture of Perry Ellis, the character of its leadership, or the Feldenkreis family.”
As of Wednesday, the Southern District of New York court’s docket has not been updated to indicate a voluntary dismissal of the case. However, the most recent entry, dated December 15, 2015, ordered the parties to advise the court no later than January 8 as to whether they had reached a settlement.