dov-charneyAfter months of silence, American Apparel’s Dov Charney is speaking out about the $10 million lawsuit that Woody Allen brought against the clothing company. In addition to correcting false perceptions about their legal defense focusing on Woody’s personal life or planning to make Mia Farrow and Soon-Yi Previn testify, the sleazy CEO wants the public to focus on the the “key issue”: whether the First Amendment protects American Apparel using Woody Allen’s face on billboard adssocial statements without permission. Read the entire statement after the jump.

I have not made personal comments to the press in the last few months because of the impending trial of this case. However, during the last month, numerous inaccurate reports have appeared in the media which have created misperceptions I feel compelled to correct. The media has misinformed the public that American Apparel supposedly plans to make Woody Allen’s personal life the central focus of our defense. This is false. It has also been reported that American Apparel intends to call Mia Farrow or Soon Yi as witnesses in the upcoming trial. This also is false.

I have deep respect for Mr. Allen who is a source of inspiration to me. The billboards and images from the Annie Hall movie were intended to be a parody/social statement and comedic satire to provoke discussion and public discourse about the baseless claims that had been made against American Apparel and myself, society’s reaction to lawsuits that delve into an individual’s private sexual life and the media’s sensationalism of such matters.

The false media reportage is an obfuscation of the key issue in the case, which is whether the use of an image from the film Annie Hall, depicting Mr. Allen as the character Alvi Singer, for purposes of evoking a societal discussion about these issues is protected by the First Amendment.

In Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, The Supreme Court of the United States unanimously proclaimed: “At the heart of the First Amendment is the recognition of the fundamental importance of the free flow of ideas and opinions on matters of public interest and concern. The freedom to speak one’s mind is not only an aspect of individual liberty – and thus a good unto itself – but also is essential to the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole. We have therefore been particularly vigilant to ensure that individual expressions of ideas remain free from governmentally imposed sanctions.”

Photo of Dov Charney by Dov Charney