Has-been retailer Abercrombie & Fitch can't seem to stay out of the press these days. First, the size discrimination (aka they don't want women over a size 10 in their stores) and now, the company has signed on to the Bangladesh fire and safety accord. But this time last year, the company was also making headlines ... for a lawsuit, which has since been settled (it seems). Model Benjamin Bowers filed a $1 million lawsuit against the retailer and a modeling agent, alleging that the two ordered him to strip down and masturbate during a photo shoot. According to Bowers' strongly-worded complaint, he was referred to agent Brian Hillburn by an A&F casting director. Hilburn subsequently flew the Bowers out to a photoshoot in Jackson, Mississippi, where Hillburn persuaded him to masturbate in order to get a more “relaxed” look for his modeling portfolio.
It doesn't stop there. The model, who is now represented by VISION Los Angeles, further alleges in the lawsuit that Hilburn exposed himself after he finished masturbating and began commenting on the size of their penises, and that Hilburn told him he had to pose nude for the photographs, or Abercrombie photographer Bruce Weber (not a party to the complaint) would get "mad." Bowers, a former A&F employee, alleges that "Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister Co. are delivering the names, photographs, addresses and telephone numbers of its young employees to a sexual predator." The model is suing for over $1 million in damages for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, sexual harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring and supervision.
We haven't heard anything about the suit in about a year now, which likely means one thing: A&F didn't want anymore negative press about the incident and paid Bowers off to keep quiet.