The future of popular online retailer Feminist Apparel — and its founder, Alan Martofel — is in question after Martofel reportedly fired nine out of company’s 10 permanent staff members in apparent retaliation for confronting him over his history of sexual misconduct. In a Tumblr post that has since gone viral, former Feminist Apparel employees explained that they had been only recently been made aware of a Facebook post published by Martofel in 2013 in which he wrote that his prior indiscretions with women — including instances where he “grinded up on women on buses and at concerts without their consent” and “put a woman’s hand on my dick while she was sleeping” — had inspired him to become a better person and to found his then-fledgling clothing brand.
According to the retailer’s former employees, “all of whom identify as women, people of color, and/or queer people,” they confronted Martofel with their discovery and accused him of “presenting a false narrative for the purpose of branding the company” and “exploiting the very population he admitted to abusing.”
“We told him that he did not deserve to run this company and was unfit to do so,” they wrote. “He had broken our trust beyond repair by omitting the truth about his history of sexual assault despite numerous opportunities to let us know.”
During that meeting, the former employees said that Martofel initially admitted to past “non-consensual sexual activity” and promised to step away from the company so as to not become a liability to its success. But as he mulled the situation over, the former employees wrote, he apparently had a change of heart — opting to simply fire them all instead. The only justification they were given for their firing, they said, was that it was “due to transitions the company is currently undertaking.”
Martofel has since defended the firings in a blog post of his own, writing that his former employees had informed him that they “do not share my views on either business or feminism” and that the realization had led him, “after much deliberation, and in accordance with both state law and our employee handbook, [to make] the difficult decision to proceed without them.” In a statement given to Refinery29, he added that “this entire situation has been sad and difficult, and I’m going to continue needing to take time to reflect on it further before I’ll be ready to say more.”
Read the full story at The New York Daily News.