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A&F Launches Investigation Into Ex-CEO Sexual Misconduct Claims

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Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) has announced that it is investigating allegations against its former CEO.

Mike Jeffries has been accused of exploiting men at international sex events that he hosted.

An investigation by the BBC revealed that an organized network used a middleman to recruit young adult males for events with Mr. Jeffries and Mr. Smith’s partner, Matthew Smith, with some alleging abuse.

Mr. Jeffries and Mr. Smith did not respond to comment requests.

Since being contacted by the BBC, A&F, which operates approximately 850 stores worldwide, including its Hollister brand, has hired an “outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation” into the allegations. It stated that it was “appalled and disgusted” by the behavior in question.

There is no evidence that the company was aware of the BBC’s discovery of allegations of sexual exploitation at sex events.

It has previously referred to Mr. Jeffries as its modern-day founder, as he transformed the Ohio-based brand from a failing heritage outfitter to a multibillion-dollar adolescent retailer during the 1990s. According to company filings at the time, he departed with a retirement package valued at approximately $25 million (£20.5 million) in 2014 due to declining sales.

According to BBC Panorama, in the months preceding Mike Jeffries’ departure, a pension fund invested in A&F brought legal proceedings alleging that the company had paid out settlements in response to allegations of “misconduct” by its then-CEO.

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Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) has announced that it is investigating allegations against its former CEO.

A source requesting anonymity stated that he had seen internal documents documenting payoffs for staff and contract employees complaining about Mr. Jeffries’ behavior. According to the source, the documents he reviewed did not disclose the nature of the complaints.

BBC Panorama inquired if the complaints were sexual, but A&F refused to respond.

After the BBC published its investigation into allegations of exploitation at sex events on Monday, A&F stated that it “was unaware of the sexual misconduct allegations” and that its new leadership had transformed the company into “the values-driven organisation we are today.”

Mr. Jeffries allegedly exploited men for sex at events he hosted in his New York residences and luxurious hotels around the globe, including in London, Paris, Venice, and Marrakech, according to a two-year BBC investigation.

Between 2009 and 2015, twelve men described attending or organizing events featuring sex acts for the 79-year-old fashion mogul and his 60-year-old British companion, Mr. Smith.

The eight men who attended the events stated that a man with a missing snout and a snakeskin patch recruited them. The BBC has identified him as James Jacobson.

a&f

Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) has announced that it is investigating allegations against its former CEO.

Half of the men who spoke to the BBC about their recruitment claimed they were initially misled about the nature of the events or were not informed that sex was involved. Others stated that they knew the events would be sexual, but this was not precisely what they expected. Everyone was compensated.

Mr. Jacobson refuted any wrongdoing and stated that all participants entered the events “with their eyes open.”

Warning: This story contains explicit sexual content

Men who attended these occasions told the BBC Mr Jeffries and Mr Smith would engage in sexual activity with about four men – or “direct” them to have sex with each other. The men reported that personnel at the event gave them envelopes containing thousands of dollars in cash.

David Bradberry, who was 23 then, said he was introduced to Mr. Jacobson in 2010 by an agent who described him as the gatekeeper to “the owners” of A&F, but no mention of sex was made. During their meeting, he stated that Mr. Jacobson suggested that Bruce Weber, A&F’s official photographer at the time, capture his photograph.

Then, Mr. Bradberry stated, “Jim made it clear that I would not meet with Abercrombie & Fitch or Mike Jeffries unless I agreed to oral sex with him.” He described his condition as “paralysed.”

In retrospect, he acknowledges that this incident should have been a “red flag,” but he viewed Mr. Jacobson as “just a creepy old man I wouldn’t have to see again.”

Later, Mr. Bradberry accepted an invitation to a daytime event at Mr. Jeffries’ former Hamptons property on New York’s Long Island, which was sold for $29 million. He claimed to have discussed his aspirations to become an A&F model with Mr. Jeffries and Mr. Smith. Then, he claimed, Mr. Jeffries held “poppers” (a drug that can induce a strong head rush and disorientation) under his nose and later engaged in sexual activity with him.

a&f

Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) has announced that it is investigating allegations against its former CEO.

Signing a nondisclosure agreement “felt like intimidation” – David Bradberry.

In 2011, Barrett Pall reported feeling pressured to attend an event in the Hamptons. When he was 22, he claimed that an older model who received a referral fee recruited him as his “replacement” for “some sort of sexual experience” with the couple. He stated that he consented because the older model had helped him financially and felt indebted to him.

Mr. Pall reported that the elder model told him, “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do,” but suggested, “The further you go, the better,” alluding to career opportunities. He felt compelled to “perform” when he arrived at the event. Mr. Pall stated at one point that Mr. Jeffries was molesting him from behind.

“I believe this experience has broken me,” he said. “I believe that this robbed me of any remaining innocence. It affected my mental state. But with the vocabulary I possess now, I can inform you that I was taken advantage of.”

Barrett Pall stated that his experience left him feeling devastated.
In 2011, dozens of males were flown to Marrakesh for the largest event described to the BBC, which took place in a private villa at a five-star hotel. According to the BBC, Mr. Jeffries and Mr. Smith are also guests. Alex, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, explained that he was a struggling model supporting his family back home when he was recruited as a performer for the event, where he anticipated having to strip.

Alex, a straight man in his twenties at the time, claimed he auditioned for Mr. Jacobson, who praised his dancing but demanded he “finish the job” by engaging in oral sex with him. “I had debt, and I wanted to support my family,” Alex explained. “I completed the task while feeling disgusted.”

Alex flew to Marrakesh for the event a few weeks later, believing that “the hardest part had been completed.” However, moments into his performance, Mr. Jeffries allegedly attempted to kiss him. “I attempted to participate without offending him. “I was extremely uneasy,” Alex stated.

Eventually, he said he hid in a back room and fell unconscious. Alex stated that he awoke with a prophylactic in his stomach and feared that the champagne he was given earlier had been tampered with.

“After putting the pieces together, I believe there is a strong possibility that I was drugged and assaulted. “I will likely never know for certain what happened,” he said.

Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) has announced that it is investigating allegations against its former CEO.

A civil attorney who reviewed the BBC’s evidence recommended that US prosecutors investigate whether what these “brave men” describe could constitute sex trafficking. Under US law, sex trafficking includes using force, fraud, or coercion to induce an adult to travel to another state or country in exchange for sexual services.

Brad Edwards stated, “There may have been evidence of coercion for some of the men, while others may not have felt the coercive tactics.”

He added that Mr. Jeffries and Mr. Smith could contend that the men were consenting adults and that the fact that some of them had engaged in commercial sex in the past was “a factor”; however, he stated that past actions were “really irrelevant” when determining whether a particular commercial sex act was the result of force, fraud, or coercion.

“Given the stories of these courageous men who have come forward, I believe it is vital that federal prosecutors investigate this case,” Mr. Edwards said, adding that prosecutors faced a “very high” burden of proof.

Over several weeks, the BBC made repeated attempts via letter, email, and phone to contact Mr. Jeffries and Mr. Smith, inviting them to respond to a detailed list of allegations and ensuring that they were fully aware of the allegations against them. There has been no response.

Mr. Jacobson, the 70-year-old intermediary, stated his attorney in which he took offense at the suggestion of “any coercive, deceptive, or forceful behavior on my part” and stated that he had “no knowledge of such conduct by others.”

He stated that he did not recall promising modeling opportunities. “Every encounter I had was entirely voluntary and never coercive,” he said. Everyone I’ve interacted with who attended these events did so with wide-open eyes.

SOURCE – (BBC)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Using AI, Mastercard Expects To Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used By Criminals

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Mastercard | AP news Image

NEW YORK  — Mastercard said Wednesday that it hopes to detect that your credit or debit card number has been compromised long before it falls into the hands of a cybercriminal.

Mastercard’s most recent software upgrade incorporates artificial intelligence into its fraud-prediction system, which it hopes will allow banks to replace stolen cards before criminals use them.

“Generative AI is going to allow us to figure out where you possibly got your credentials compromised, how we can identify how it happened, and how we can very quickly remedy that situation not only for you, but also for other customers who don’t know they are compromised yet,” said Johan Gerber, executive vice president of security and cyber innovation at Mastercard, in an interview.

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Mastercard | Investopedia Image

Using AI, Mastercard Expects To Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used By Criminals

Mastercard, based in Purchase, New York, says that with this new update, it can use other patterns or contextual information, such as geography, time, and addresses, and combine it with incomplete but compromised credit card numbers that appear in databases, allowing it to reach cardholders sooner and replace the bad card.

The patterns can now be applied in reverse, potentially employing batches of faulty cards to identify potentially hacked businesses or payment processors. According to Gerber, pattern identification goes beyond what humans can perform with database queries or other typical approaches.

Billions of stolen credit and debit card numbers are floating on the dark web, ready for purchase by any thief. Most were stolen from merchants in data breaches over the years, but a substantial number were stolen from unwary customers who used their credit or debit cards at the incorrect gas station, ATM, or online shop.

These compromised cards may go undiscovered for weeks, months, or even years. Only when the payment networks themselves dig into the dark web to look for stolen numbers, a merchant discovers a breach, or a criminal uses a card do the payment networks, and banks realize a batch of cards may be compromised.

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Mastercard | Youtube Image

Using AI, Mastercard Expects To Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used By Criminals

“We can now actually proactively reach out to the banks to make sure that we service that consumer and get them a new card in her or his hands so they can go about their lives with as little disruption as possible,” Gerber stated.

The payment networks are primarily attempting to transition away from “static” credit card or debit card numbers — card numbers and expiration dates that are used consistently across all businesses — and toward unique numbers for specific transactions. However, that transformation could take years, especially in the United States, where payment technology uptake is typically slow.

While chip cards are currently used in more than 90% of all in-person transactions worldwide, EMVCo, the technological body behind the chip in credit and debit cards, estimates that the proportion in the United States is closer to 70%.

Mastercard

Mastercard | Mastercard Image

Using AI, Mastercard Expects To Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used By Criminals

Mastercard’s announcement comes as its main competitor, Visa Inc., looks for ways to force users to discard their 16-digit credit and debit card numbers. Visa revealed big changes to how credit and debit cards will work in the United States last week, implying that Americans will carry fewer physical cards in their wallets and that the 16-digit credit or debit card number inscribed on each card will become less relevant.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Group Of Tesla Shareholders Ask Investors To Vote Against Musk’s Compensation Package

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Tesla | AP Image

A group of Tesla shareholders is urging investors to vote against CEO Elon Musk’s compensation package worth more than $40 billion, arguing that it is not in the company’s best interests.

Tesla is grappling with declining global sales, sluggish electric car demand, an older model lineup, and a stock price that has fallen 30% this year.

The shareholder group, which includes New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, SOC Investment Group, and Amalgamated Bank, stated in a letter to shareholders that ratifying Musk’s pay deal will not positively impact Tesla’s long-term growth and stability.

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Tesla | Reddit Image

Group Of Tesla Shareholders Ask Investors To Vote Against Musk’s Compensation Package

There is also concern that ratifying the remuneration package may result in litigation alleging corporate waste. According to the letter, Musk is perceived as a part-time CEO at Tesla, with his time increasingly being spent on other business commitments.

“Shareholders should not believe that this reward has any incentive effect—it does not. “What it does have is an excessiveness problem, which has been obvious since the beginning,” the organization stated.

They highlighted that if shareholders approve the remuneration package, another plan may be proposed next year.

“Given Tesla’s history of exponentially larger awards, Musk may well ask for another award,” the organization stated.

The group also requests that investors vote against the reelection of board members Kimbal Musk, Elon Musk’s brother, and James Murdoch, a former executive at media conglomerate Twenty-First Century Fox

Tesla urged shareholders this month to reinstate Musk’s $56 billion pay plan, which a Delaware judge had earlier this year rejected. At the time, it also requested that the company’s headquarters be moved to Texas.

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Tesla | AP News Image

Group Of Tesla Shareholders Ask Investors To Vote Against Musk’s Compensation Package

Stockholders will vote on the measures at the June 13 annual meeting.

In a statement to shareholders published in a regulatory filing last month, Chairperson Robyn Denholm stated that Musk has delivered on the automaker’s growth expectations. Tesla meets all of the stock value and operational benchmarks outlined in the 2018 shareholder package. Shares have been up 571% since the pay package began

“Because the Delaware Court second-guessed your decision, Elon has not been paid for any of his work for Tesla for the past six years that has helped to generate significant growth and stockholder value,” Denholm stated in a letter. “That strikes us — and the many stockholders from whom we already have heard — as fundamentally unfair, and inconsistent with the will of the stockholders who voted for it.”

Tesla reported record deliveries of more than 1.8 million electric vehicles worldwide in 2023, but the value of its stock has fallen sharply this year as EV sales have slowed.

The business said it shipped 386,810 automobiles from January to March, about 9% fewer than last year. Future growth is still being determined, and convincing shareholders to support a large pay package in a growing global competition may be difficult.

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Tesla | Tesmian Image

Group Of Tesla Shareholders Ask Investors To Vote Against Musk’s Compensation Package

Last year, Tesla reduced the costs of some models by up to $20,000. The price decreases caused the prices of used electric vehicles to fall, reducing Tesla’s profit margins.

In April, Tesla said it laid off around 10% of its workforce, or 14,000 individuals

SOURCE – (AP)

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Studio Ghibli Takes A Bow At Cannes With An Honorary Palme D’Or

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Studio Ghibli | AP News Image

CANNES, France — The Cannes Film Festival honored Studio Ghibli, the Japanese cartoon factory of surreal ecological wonders that has captivated moviegoers for 39 years, with tales of Totoros, enchanted jellyfish, and floating castles, on Monday with an honorary Palme d’Or.

In the 22 years that Cannes has given out honorary Palmes, Ghibli’s prize was the first for anything other than an individual filmmaker or actor. (This year’s other winners include George Lucas and Meryl Streep.) Hayao Miyazaki, the 83-year-old animation genius who co-founded Studio Ghibli with Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki in 1985, did not attend the ceremony but spoke via video message from Japan.

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Studio Ghibli | AP News Image

Studio Ghibli Takes A Bow At Cannes With An Honorary Palme D’Or

“I don’t understand any of this,” Miyazaki replied. “But thank you.”

At Cannes, where standing ovations may last for hours, Ghibli’s envoys — Goro Miyazaki (son of Hayao) and Kenichi Yoda — received one of the festival’s most thunderous responses. Thierry Fremaux, Cannes’ creative director, walked across the platform of the Grand Théâtre Lumière to shoot the extended ovation, which he stated will be sent to Miyazaki via video.

“With this Palme d’Or, we’d like to thank you for all the magic you’ve brought to cinema,” said Iris Knobloch, the festival’s president, who presented the award.

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Studio Ghibli | AP News Image

Studio Ghibli Takes A Bow At Cannes With An Honorary Palme D’Or

The occasion was honored not with a new Ghibli picture but by four previously unreleased short films outside of Japan. “Mei and the Baby Cat Bus,” a minor sequel to Miyazaki’s 1989 film “My Neighbor Totoro,” grows the Cat Bus from that classic to a full fleet of cat conveyances, most notably the small Baby Cat Bus

The films were all created for the Studio Ghibli Museum outside Tokyo, including “Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess,” a culinary-themed desert for Miyazaki’s 2001 film “Spirited Away.” The other two—”House Hunting” and “Boro the Caterpillar”—create acoustic mini-adventures for forest critters.

Miyazaki’s long-awaited “The Boy and the Heron” won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in March, so the Studio Ghibli party came soon after. (A documentary on its making, “Hayao Miyazaki and the Heron,” was also shown at Cannes.)

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Studio Ghibli | AP News Image

Studio Ghibli Takes A Bow At Cannes With An Honorary Palme D’Or

Miyazaki also sat out at the ceremony. Goro Miyazaki, whose own films include “From Up on Poppy Hill” and “Tales From Earthsea,” revealed that they had to wrap the Oscar in a hotel towel before bringing it home to his father. On Monday, he was relieved that the Cannes prize is portable.

“I’m reassured seeing the Palme d’Or was in a box,” he remarked, smiling.

SOURCE – (AP)

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