The Lawsuit Against Perry Ellis Alleging Racist & Homophobic Behavior Has Been Settled

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Perry Ellis Fall Winter 2015 16 Ad Campaign3

Back in October, reported that “A “gay” senior executive at Perry Ellis International has filed a lawsuit against the company, in Manhattan Federal Court, alleging that Oscar Feldenkreis – who is slated to take over his father’s (George) role as CEO –  doesn’t want Black people or gay looking people in promotional material” (see it here).

A Source reported that “senior exec Joseph Cook, 49, says that Feldenkreis told him in 2013 to make sure there are “no blacks in my ads” and that he “did not want anyone who looked too gay.”

Today, we have an update and from the looks of it, all parties agreed on the final outcome.

According to the New York Post, the lawsuit has now been “amicably resolved” and “that as of Jan. 22, he [Joseph Cook] will no longer work for the company where he had been president of the wholesale division of Original Penguin.”

Perry Ellis issued a statement on Cook‘s behalf in which seems to retract his claims: “Perry Ellis is a diverse and inclusive company, and has always been so,” Cook said. “My overall tenure at the company demonstrates that the comments I complained about are not reflective of the overall culture of Perry Ellis, the character of its leadership, or the Feldenkreis family.”

The company also said in a statement that Cook resigned his position “on his own.”

According to Cook, his change of heart was a result of “a lot of dialogue and reflection” since October, when the suit was filed.

George Feldenkreis said he believes Perry Ellis “employs a higher percentage of minorities than any other apparel company in the industry. We don’t have issues with blacks, women, gay people or Hispanics,” he said. “I’m Hispanic myself.”

There’s no way that Cook would retract his claims or have a change of heart without receiving a financial payment. Most likely, the the company cut him a nice check to settle the lawsuit and to protect their ‘brand,'” says Don Bleek.

When I first reported the story, I said, “To be honest, it is hard for me to believe these allegations because a Black model appeared in Perry Ellis’  Fall/Winter 2015/16 collection ad campaign and Black models also walked the runway at Perry Ellis‘ Spring 2016 menswear collection during the inaugural New York Fashion Week: Men’s.”

As of today, my opinion remains the same, however, I still think that Cook received a financial payment to retract his claims.

Photos Credit: New York Post

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Donovan is the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of For all general inquiries please email Donovan has a BA in Journalism & Media Studies from the prestigious Rutgers University. He's currently studying entertainment and fashion law.