Throughout the 1980's Gerald Marie, an agent with Elite Model Management in Paris, was responsible for launching the careers of some of the most recognizable faces in the industry, including that of his ex-wife Linda Evangelista. But for years those in his circle quietly whispered accusations that Marie was a sexual predator, a man who had used his power and influence in the modeling world to sexually harass and abuse young women—and in some cases minors. Last week, 60 Minutes Australia delved into this history and found a dozen women who had been sent to Paris to work and live under Marie who claim the agent harassed and assaulted them repeatedly for months while others at Elite knew what was happening.
But somehow, the story of what was being done to women at Elite is worse than those circulated rumors. According to the Torono Sun, the managers who worked at the various branches of Elite made a game of having sex with the models they represented allegedly “[keeping] a tally of the women they slept with” as well as “bonus points if the girls they defiled were virgins or underage.” One whistleblower told the Sun that the younger the girls were, the more points the men would be allotted.
Despite these revelations, however, Marie and his ilk have yet to face any criminal charges because of the statute of limitations, which in France is 20 years. This fact seems to put Marie at ease. During the 60 Minutes episode, Marie is confronted by a reporter while sitting outside at a restaurant. Marie’s response: “I have lawyers,” he says before returning to his meal, ignoring the camera crew and the reporter informing him of the dozen women accusing him of assault. When the reporter persisted, Marie asked if he didn’t have something better to be doing.
French investigators began looking into the allegations against Marie in September of last year but the investigation has yet to bear any fruit. The lawyer representing Marie’s accusers, however, believes that there can be some sort of justice for some victims if there’s enough evidence to sustain the theory of a decades-long coverup by Marie and those in power at Elite. As of October of 2020, Marie was still working with models through Oui Management.