The sexual misconduct claims against Guess founder Paul Marciano are far darker than we could’ve imagined.
As we previously reported, on Wednesday, Kate Upton took to Twitter to accuse the fashion mogul of “sexually and emotionally” harassing women. This scandal has only worsened for Marciano as webloid The Blast released their own expos├â┬⌐ about multiple sexual assault allegations made against the Moroccan-born designer.
Per the website, back in November, a woman (who is referred to as Jane Doe) came forward and detailed her story to The Blast. While initially Doe didn’t want the site to move forward with her story — she was afraid of being the first accuser against Marciano — she’s since given the publication her blessing to publish the piece. Here is what she experienced while working with Paul…
According to Doe, she met with Marciano at the Guess headquarters in Los Angeles in March 2016 after they interacted a bit on social media. The meeting started professionally as the aspiring model claims Marciano bragged about launching models’ careers. Anna Nicole Smith was specifically mentioned.
Reportedly, Paul went on to criticize that today’s model are “too skinny,” and noted that he liked women with “big boobs.” He then invited the up-and-comer to “try on some dresses and outfits.” They took a golf cart ride to another building on the Guess campus, but the space was empty upon their arrival. Jane moved behind a curtain to try on dresses selected by Paul, and here is where things get inappropriate.
Allegedly, Marciano opened the curtain, watched her undress, and began making comments about her body. After Jane told the fashion influencer that she recently lost weight, Marciano supposedly “reached over and pulled [her] breast out of the dress” and said:
“‘At least you still have your boobs.'”
Doe also claims Marciano tried to forcibly kiss her. On the incident, Jane added:
“I kind of laughed and said, ‘I have a boyfriend’ and pushed him away.”
How awful. A stunned Doe changed back into her clothes and left the Guess campus. Marciano gifted her with dresses and a purse as she exited. As for why she didn’t report the misconduct, Doe explained:
“Guess has been my dream ever since I was a little girl. I thought this is how girls get a campaign.”
Which is why, despite being upset about the groping incident, she reached out to Marciano on social media once more. So sad.
After the unsavory encounter, Doe told several people about the experience and learned that Paul’s reputation was well known throughout the fashion world. One female Guess photographer apparently told Jane that Paul requests private photos of models’ breasts from shoots. Ugh.
Jane heard from Paul again in March 2017, only AFTER she posted a voluptuous modeling shot. Amid their correspondence, Doe told Marciano that she enjoyed being a curvier model, to which he replied:
“I Love that!!!! Are you [sic] boobs back? Picture?”
After some back and forth, Marciano expressed an interest in seeing her boobs once more, as he wanted to “talk to them.” Creepy.
Eventually, Jane confronted the designer about the groping incident. A caught off guard Marciano told Jane to “refresh [her] memory” and claimed they only met for five minutes. He added:
“…you showed me your boobs to tell me that you didn’t lose any weight… I don’t know how and why you will make up these stories.”
This was the last time they spoke. Per the alleged victim, Marciano is “taking advantage of his position of power, and promises a career if you play his game, but he’s just preying on the dreams of young girls.”
Not to mention, this is not the first time Marciano has been accused of assault. The website also brought up a 2009 lawsuit filed by a woman named Lindsey Ring. At the time, Ring claimed she was sexually assaulted by the businessman while working for Guess as a fit model.
The filing stated:
“[Marciano] began to create a hostile work environment for Ms. Ring by 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.”
The inappropriate behavior allegedly took place in May 2008. It’s said, during fittings, Paul “would run his hand up and down her breasts and her buttocks, telling her how nice it felt and commenting on the fit. He would also lean close to her and whisper that he wanted to ├óΓé¼╦£take her right there,’ that he was upset she was married, that she was beautiful and that he wanted to kiss her.”
Oof. She also alleged that a senior staffer joked:
“Paul came to feel the fabric.”
Gross. Lindsey filed her claim with the California Department Of Fair Employment and Housing. The case was closed after Ring, Marciano, and Guess reached a confidential settlement. The company conducted an external investigation into the matter, but ruled there was no “evidence to substantiate Ring’s claims of harassment or hostile work environment.”
The Blast has stated that, amid their investigation into this alleged misconduct, both Director of Advertising Allison Joyce Shafii and Vice President of Advertising Renee Kelly showed up at their office with Guess catalogs from the last 20 years and a note from Marciano.
The missive asked the reporters to reach out to the multiple models he’s worked with over the years. Ireland Baldwin‘s rep praised the Guess founder as “extremely professional.” Paul’s company also released the following statement:
“Upon being contacted in November by The Blast, the Company immediately investigated with the assistance of outside counsel separate allegations that Mr. Marciano had acted inappropriately with two women. The investigation determined the following: One allegation was taken from a publicly available lawsuit that was filed in 2009. 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.
The second allegation concerns an aspiring model who is quoted anonymously in the story claiming inappropriate conduct in March 2016. Mr. Marciano also denies this allegation.
To date, the current investigation has not corroborated either allegation, and the Board of Directors has been unable to determine that either accusation has merit.”
We’re certain this isn’t the last we’ve heard about this controversy. Be sure to check back for any updates.
[Image via WENN.]