Fashion label sued for ‘not wanting anyone too gay’ in their ads
Perry Ellis International is being sued over claims that the company’s president demanded that there are “no blacks in my ads” or “anyone who looked too gay”.
The company – which is named after its gay founder – is being sued over an alleged homophobic and racist policy.
The company’s president Oscar Feldenkreis is also accused of telling the plaintiff that he could avoid jury service by “telling them you hate ni**ers and fags”.
In a statement released by Perry Ellis, the label said it “categorically denies” all the allegations.
The lawsuit – filed last week in New York – is brought on behalf of former employee.
Cook – who is openly gay – claims that he has been “forced to endure highly offensive homophobic, racial and ethnic slurs” from Feldenkreis.
Cook alleges that during a meeting to discuss new adverts, Feldenkreis told him he “did not want anyone who looked too gay” in the commercials.
Feldenkreis’s daughter – who also works for the company – also allegedly repeatedly told Cook that “my dad doesn’t like having black guys in his ads, or anyone who looks too gay”.
Cook claims in the lawsuit that he was pushed out and had his role diminished when he complained about Feldenkreis’s alleged homophobic and racist behaviour.
More from PinkNews
However, the company has expressly denied all of the allegations.
In a statement, the company’s lawyer said: “Perry Ellis is a company that promotes equal opportunity and a positive working environment.
“The company is proud of the fact that it is probably one of the most diverse companies in the apparel business following its multicultural roots, stemming from Puerto Rico and Cuba.
“Perry Ellis categorically denies any allegations to the contrary. The claims that have been asserted will be vigorously defended against.”
Despite this, Cook’s lawyer said: “It is incredible that a company founded by a gay man can now be so insensitive to others based on their sexual orientation and race.”
Earlier this month, rap superstar Kanye West claimed he too “got discriminated” in the fashion industry… because he is straight.
“I feel like I got discriminated in fashion for not being gay,” he said.