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Supermodel Kate Upton has accused Guess co-founder Paul Marciano, 65, of “sexually and emotionally” harassing women.
The 25-year-old, who starred in several Guess campaigns over the years, first tweeted a somewhat vague statement, writing, “It’s disappointing that such an iconic women’s brand @GUESS is still empowering Paul Marciano as their creative director.” She included the #MeToo hashtag, leading many to wonder if Upton was pointing a finger at Marciano.
— Kate Upton (@KateUpton) January 31, 2018
In an Instagram post that went up shortly thereafter, Upton clarified her tweet, posting a screengrab with the caption, “He shouldn’t be allowed to use his power in the industry to sexually and emotionally harass women,” again adding “#metoo.”
A post shared by Kate Upton (@kateupton) on
A representative for Guess did not immediately return The Hollywood Reporter‘s request for comment. TMZ reports that Marciano has denied allegations. According to their report, Marciano said the brand was considering parting ways with Upton after she arrived on set “looking terrible” following “late nights.” He says he believes this was her impetus for launching the accusations.
After her tweets, Upton told a TMZ photog, “I can’t wait to tell my full story, but a walk to the car is not going to cover it.” THR has also reached out to Upton.
Guess, founded by the four French Marciano brothers in L.A. in the early 1980s, became notorious for its provocative and sexually charged denim ad campaigns of the ‘90s and early ‘00s. In addition to Upton, boldfacers such as Claudia Schiffer, Anna Nicole Smith, Priyanka Chopra, Drew Barrymore, Joe Jonas and Gigi Hadid have all fronted for the brand. Marciano is good friends with Yolanda Foster, Hadid’s mother, and began casting Hadid in Baby Guess campaigns when she was 2 years old. Just last night, Guess celebrated its newest ambassador: Jennifer Lopez.
At a retrospective chronicling the brand’s 35-year history as well as some of its most memorable campaigns at the Fashion Institute of Design Technology in Los Angeles last year, Marciano listed Upton as one of the models he enjoyed working with the most over the years, along with Schiffer and Hadid.
Upton’s accusations are part of a wave of allegations against powerful figures in the fashion industry, including such high-profile photographers as Bruce Weber, Terry Richardson and Mario Testino. Marciano is one of the first creative directors accused of sexual harassment.
A 2009 lawsuit against Guess?, Inc. regarding Marciano’s behavior has surfaced. In the suit, which was filed in Los Angeles and later dismissed, then 28-year-old Guess fit model Lindsey Ring accused Marciano of sexual misconduct including, “making sexual comments to her, repeatedly touching her inappropriately and without her consent, and attempting on at least two occasions to fondle her sexually after taking her to a private area at the worksite, all of which was offensive to Ms. Ring and would have been offensive to any reasonable person.”
According to the complaint, Marciano’s behavior was acknowledged by the staff. After she brought the misconduct to the attention of HR, Marciano left her a “rambling message” on her personal cell phone in which he admitted “that his behavior had been wrong and saying he just wanted to see her.”
“The fitters and designers would openly discuss how much attention Mr. Marciano paid to Ms. Ring and that the reason he came to the fittings was because Ms. Ring was present and because he liked her breasts,” reads the complaint. “Even her own supervisor, Tracey Layana, told Ms. Ring that she was ‘Paul’s type’ and that he was pursuing her. Ms. Layana advised her that she should always ‘look good and smell good’ when she met with Mr. Marciano to keep him interested.”
The case was dismissed days after it was filed. A representative for Guess did not return The Hollywood Reporter‘s request for comment. In a statement to The Blast, a company spokesperson wrote, “Mr. Marciano denied the allegation at that time, and a contemporaneous investigation conducted in 2009 by the Company and outside counsel did not corroborate the plaintiff’s claims.”
10:15 a.m. This story has been updated with info from a 2009 lawsuit against Guess?, Inc. regarding Marciano’s behavior and the brand’s statement to The Blast.
10:40 a.m. This story has been updated with Marciano’s statement to TMZ.
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