In late January, model Kate Upton revealed her #MeToo moment on social media, claiming that Guess co-founder Paul Marciano had sexually harassed her when she was working on a campaign for the brand. And today, June 13th, Marciano announced he’s resigning from his post following a company investigation into his behavior.
According to NBC News, Guess announced via a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Marciano would be replaced as executive chairman of the board by his brother (and fellow co-founder) Maurice. Marciano ceased his daily duties for the brand in February after the allegations first emerged. However, he’ll remain a member of the brand’s board until January 2019.
Marciano continues to deny any inappropriate behavior took place.
Regardless of what he claims, the filing stated that an investigation into Marciano’s behavior had ruled that he had placed himself “in situations in which plausible allegations of improper conduct could, and did, arise.” Over the course of the investigation, 40 different people were interviewed and more than a million pages of documents reviewed.
In the statement, Guess wrote that the accusations against Marciano included “claims of inappropriate comments and texts, and unwanted advances including kissing and groping.” The filing revealed that the company had settled with five complainants for a total of $500,000 in order to avoid taking the case to court.
Claims of sexual harassment against Marciano first surfaced with Upton tweet on January 31st. “It’s disappointing that such an iconic women’s brand @GUESS is still empowering Paul Marciano as their creative director #metoo,” she wrote. Following her post, other women began speaking out as well.
In a later interview with Time, the model said that when she was working on her first Guess campaign (her first professional campaign ever), Marciano had groped her breasts and thighs and forcibly kissed her. She was just 18 years old at the time.
Marciano’s alleged abuse of women is unacceptable, and we’re glad Guess is (finally) taking action against him (though his continued place on the board until 2019 is questionable at best). As always, we stand by all of those who, like Upton, have experienced sexual harassment or assault and are speaking their truth.