kate upton accuses guess co-founder of sexual harassment
The model recalls a time when Paul Marciano allegedly grabbed her breasts and forcibly tried to kiss her.
Guess campaign 2011
Earlier last week, model and actress Kate Upton took to Twitter to share her own #MeToo moment, writing: “It’s disappointing that such an iconic women’s brand @Guess is still empowering Paul Marciano as their creative director #metoo.”
Now in an interview with TIME, Kate has elaborated on her claims against the Guess co-founder and former CEO, who she alleges grabbed her breasts and tried to kiss her, while she was shooting her first lingerie campaign for the renowned fashion label back in 2010. She was just 18 years old at the time. “Paul came straight up to me, forcibly grabbed my breasts and started feeling them,” she tells TIME. “Playing with them actually. After I pushed him away, he said, “I’m making sure they’re real.”… At one point he forcibly grabbed the back of my head so that I could not move and started kissing my face and my neck.”
A month later, there was a second shoot. Once again, Kate tells how she was forced to dodge Marciano’s calls and advances, only to find that the next day she had been reportedly fired from the shoot. “Someone had called my agency to say I had gotten fat and would not be needed on set,” she told TIME. On another occasion, photographer Ellen Von Unwerth was reportedly forced to come to the model’s rescue, and on another Marciano allegedly referred to Kate as “disgusting” and “started telling people how unprofessional I was by spreading rumours that I was drunk on set and partying every night, which of course I wasn’t. I was then told to leave because Paul had said, “Get that fat pig off my set.”
In 2011, Kate finally parted ways with Guess. In this time of public reckoning, Kate is one of many models that have called out the predatory and abusive behaviour that can occur behind the scenes. On this subject, Kate is adamant that the fashion industry be no exception when it comes to the power relationships between all players. “Nobody has a right over my body just because they view me as sexy or a sex icon. I think people need to be educated on the definition of consent. I don’t think there are any blurred lines in this. I don’t think you should be touching people at the workplace, and I don’t think you should be sexually speaking to a model as they’re doing their profession.”
In a statement to TIME, Marciano said: “I have never been alone with Kate Upton. I have never touched her inappropriately. Nor would I ever refer to a Guess model in such a derogatory manner. While I fully support the #metoo movement. At the same time, I will not allow others to defame me and tarnish my reputation. I have pledged to Guess and its Board of Directors my full support and cooperation with a fair and impartial investigation.
I have pledged to Guess and its board of directors my full support and cooperation with a fair and impartial investigation.”
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.