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American Apparel founder Dov Charney speaks out on Woody Allen trial

May 6, 2009 |  3:30 pm

He's kept mum for months on a lawsuit brought by actor-director Woody Allen. But today, American Apparel Chief Executive Dov Charney spoke out against "numerous inaccurate reports" about the case in the media:

(Last year, Allen sued the Los Angeles clothing retailer for using his image on billboards without his permission. A trial is scheduled to start in Manhattan on May 18.)

"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."

Allen last month said in court papers that American Apparel had tried to intimidate him by requesting information about his family life, personal finances and career. The Associated Press had quoted a lawyer for American Apparel as saying the company planned to focus during the trial on Allen's relationships with actress Mia Farrow and her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, whom Allen married.

-- Andrea Chang