Several days after Kate Upton accused Guess cofounder Paul Marciano of sexual and emotional harassment, Marciano has responded to her claims in a statement released to TMZ. In the statement, Marciano denies all claims of harassment and suggests that the accusations were leveraged as part of a plot by Upton, who served as the face of Guess from 2010 to 2011, to “defame” the Moroccan-born designer.
“Five days ago, Kate Upton tweeted that I abused my position at Guess ‘to sexually and emotionally harass women.’ Ms. Upton provided no details. Just the hashtag #MeToo,” Marciano wrote. “As of today, Ms. Upton still has provided no facts, no details, no dates, and no circumstances to back up anything she has alleged. I am told that she has been working with others for some time to defame me and will claim that I groped her among other things. This accusation is false. I have never touched Kate Upton. I have never been alone with Kate Upton. I have never acted inappropriately towards her.”
After describing the support he has received from colleagues and friends in recent days in the face of a stream of social media attacks, Marciano concluded the statement by reasserting his innocence. “I have devoted my entire career to building a fashion company and brand that have a long and proud record of empowering women. I fully support the #MeToo movement. At the same time, I will not stand by and watch my reputation be tarnished,” he wrote. “I have pledged to the Guess Board of Directors that I will fully cooperate with a fair and impartial investigation into all of the facts. I have complete trust and confidence that the actual facts — not unverified tweets or uncorroborated Instagram posts — will prove that the accusations against me are untruthful.”
Upton took to social media on January 31, hours before a gala event celebrating Guess’s new collaboration with Jennifer Lopez, to accuse Marciano of misconduct. “It’s disappointing that such an iconic women’s brand @GUESS is still empowering Paul Marciano as their creative director #MeToo,” she tweeted. She then posted a screenshot of the tweet on Instagram with the caption, “He shouldn’t be allowed to use his power in the industry to sexually and emotionally harass women #MeToo.” Upon arriving at LAX the next day, the model told TMZ that further details of her accusations were forthcoming. “I can’t wait to tell my whole story, but a walk to the car isn’t going to cover it,” she said.
According to The Business of Fashion, Guess said in a statement last week that it “will fully investigate [Upton’s] claims, once they are known, to determine if they have any merit.” The outlet also reported that Marciano was previously investigated for two other allegations of sexual misconduct in recent months; both were dismissed.
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