If you thought there was nothing worse than being trapped inside an Abercrombie & Fitch store with hormonal pre-teens, thumping techno and headache-inspiring cologne, think again.
You've never been aboard CEO Mike Jeffries' corporate jet, a luxurious playpen where stewards are male models, Abercrombie & Fitch cologne #41 is sprayed at regular intervals throughout the day and carpets are vacuumed in perfectly straight lines according to details contained in a recent lawsuit.
CORRECTION: This story previously incorrectly referenced and contained a link to the LinkedIn account of Matt Smith, managing director at Jefferies & Co. Matthew Smith, the person referred to in the lawsuit, works for the Jeffries Family Office. We regret the error and apologize for any confusion this may have caused.
In the legal filings outed by Bloomberg today, Jeffries and his "life partner" (as the lawsuit refers to him) Matthew Smith rule over the Gulfstream G550 with a compulsive attention to detail, requiring employees to abide by a 47-page manual that specifies everything from the seating arrangement of Jeffries' dogs to the precise temperature at which the crew may wear winter coats (50 degrees).
The documents in the lawsuit -- filed in 2010 by a pilot who claimed he was fired for being too old -- lay Abercrombie & Fitch's secretive corporate culture and the private life of its CEO nearly as bare as its models' hairless chests.
Here are some highlights from the "Aircraft Standards" manual:
- The four models or actors who work as cabin attendants must never respond to Matthew or Michael, as the manual refers to Jeffries and Smith, by saying anything but a friendly "no problem." Phrases like "sure" or "just a minute" are not permitted.
As Michael Bustin, the pilot suing Abercrombie & Fitch, put it in his deposition, "Every single aspect that you can imagine that affected the airplane or our behavior in it was controlled by Abercrombie & Fitch, specifically, Michael Jeffries and Matthew Smith."
Smith conducted monthly inspections of the jet hangar, according to a witness deposition. Smith had an "affinity for cleanliness and tidiness," the witness said. Once, when a jet mechanic showed up with an American flag sticker on his tool chest, Smith allegedly asked him to remove it because he wanted things to be "clean looking."
Though he turned 68 this year, Jeffries lives and breathes the Abercrombie & Fitch brand. The bleach-haired, taut-skinned executive lifts weights most mornings and sleeps next to a photo of a naked male torso, he told Businessweek in 2005 in one of the few interviews he's given.
According to Bustin, who claims he was replaced by a 32-year-old pilot, Jeffries is a little too obsessed with youth. "Smith and Jeffries made disparaging and exclusionary comments about older individuals and made it clear to [Bustin] that [Abercrombie & Fitch] preferred younger people as employees, in keeping with its 'young' corporate image," the original complaint stated.
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