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Superstar model Kate Upton took to social media Wednesday to imply that Paul Marciano, veteran creative director of Guess, sexually harassed her. In a tweet that tagged Guess and included the #MeToo hashtag for victims of sexual misconduct, Upton called it “disappointing that such an iconic women’s brand is still empowering Paul Marciano as their creative director.”
On Instagram, she went on to say that Marciano shouldn’t be allowed to use his industry clout “to sexually and emotionally harass women.”
When reached by phone, a representative for Upton’s management company, The Lions, said, “I’m sorry, we have no comment.”
Upton isn’t the first model to accuse Marciano of sexual misconduct. In 2009, Lindsey Ring, a Guess fit model, sued Marciano. She claimed he touched her breasts and buttocks, made sexual comments, and reduced her hours when she rejected him. She also accused him of selling a naked mold of her torso without permission. Ring eventually left Guess for fear that Marciano would assault her, she said.
The Pasadena, California, law firm Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP represented Ring in that suit. It did not respond to Racked’s request for comment before publication.
Marciano’s name also came up in a 1999 sexual discrimination lawsuit against Guess. The suit was unsuccessful. The plaintiff, Sandy Baas, was a former Guess worker who alleged, among other complaints, that Marciano had romantically pursued one of her subordinates, inviting her to meet him in Scottsdale, Arizona. That employee, Jill Benton, stated, “I assured Paul Marciano that if he wanted a sexual relationship, that that would not happen, and I made that perfectly clear so there would be no surprises. And ... he assured me there would be separate rooms, and he just wanted to get to know me as a person, and there was nothing sexual about his interest in me.”
Racked is awaiting a statement from Guess about the allegations.
Updated on February 20th, 2018
On February 20th, Guess issued a press release announcing that its board of directors had formed a special committee made up of two independent directors to investigate the accusations against Marciano, who will cease his daily duties at the company until the investigation is complete. Marciano will also not receive pay during the course of the investigation. The law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP is leading the investigation, while the special committee has retained the Glaser Weil LLP firm.
In the press release, Marciano is quoted as saying, “I have pledged my full cooperation to the company, and I have the utmost confidence in our CEO Victor Herrero to continue leading the company during this time.”
Since her Instagram post, Upton provided more details about her alleged encounters with Marciano. She told Time magazine that he’d grabbed her breasts, sexually harassed her at hotels, and sent inappropriate text messages to her.
Marciano denies any wrongdoing.