Last Monday, the owner of Coach, Stuart Weitzman, and Kate Spade, also known as Tapestry, Inc. announced the resignation of Stuart Weitzman Creative Director, Giovanni Morelli.
Morelli joined Stuart Weitzman, replacing its namesake founder, just about a year ago.
A replacement has yet to be named and truly suggests that the decision was sudden.
In the announcement, Tapestry CEO Victor Luis says:
“While we greatly admire Giovanni’s creative talents, Tapestry is committed to an environment where every individual feels respected and at times his behavior fell short of these standards.”
But due to the lawsuit that was filed on Tuesday in the New York State Supreme Court against Tapestry, on behalf of Thomas Gibb, Stuart Weitzman’s Vice President of Product Development & Production of Footwear, the decision to resign seems more apparent.
In the complaint, Gibb notes that he was “continuously sexually harassed” by Morelli, which included some unwanted touching as well as numerous explicit comments.
The complaint also notes:
“However, because of Mr. Morelli’s position within Stuart Weitzman, this conduct was permitted without consequence.”
And even though Gibb’s had gone to Human Resources, Stuart Weitzman only took action after Gibb secured legal counsel, allowing Morelli to “‘resign’ in an attempt to shield itself from liability.”
Gibb also mentions that he feels Luis’s statement “minimized” Morelli’s conduct.
In a statement sent to Fashionista, Gibb’s lawyer David E. Gottlieb says:
“Mr. Gibb has filed an action today to ensure the public is aware of the extent of this conduct and the Company’s utter failure to take it seriously until the possibility of a lawsuit became apparent.”
And a portion of the filing reads:
“As Stuart Weitzman’s Creative Director, and therefore the de facto ‘face’ of the brand, Tapestry effectively allowed Mr. Morelli to operate outside the normal confines of acceptable conduct and made seemingly endless excuses and exceptions for him.”
Gibb is claiming discrimination “on the basis of his gender and/or sexual orientation” by both Tapestry and Morelli.
Gibb’s seeking a declaratory judgment that the defendants broke the law, injunctive measures to remedy such conduct and monetary damages.