Paul Marciano co-founded Guess in 1981. He served as the company’s CEO until 2015, when he stepped down to become its executive chairman and chief creative officer. On Wednesday night Kate Upton, who has starred in numerous Guess campaigns, accused Marciano of sexual harassment.
Upton posted messages on both Twitter and Instagram about Marciano. On the former, she wrote that it’s “disappointing” he is still serving as Guess’s creative director, using the hashtag #MeToo.
On Instagram, she screengrabbed her tweet and added a caption to make the message more specific, alleging Marciano uses his “power in the industry to sexually and emotionally harass women.” Aside from the #MeToo hashtag, Upton did not specifically mention an incident between herself and Marciano, but he has been sued for workplace discrimination and harassment in the past.
In 2008, model Lindsey Ring accused him of luring her into a warehouse, where he allegedly turned off the light and tried to kiss her. She rejected him, and reported him to her direct boss, who told her, “This is not the first time this has happened with Mr. Marciano.”
After rejecting Marciano, Ring says her work with the company was gradually cut, until she quit about two months later. Courthouse News reports that in her case against the company from late 2009, Ring claimed that Guess was selling a replica of her naked torso to vendors, titled the “Lindsey Form.”
“This use of her naked body is a further invasion of her privacy and person by Guess?, Inc.,” the lawsuit states. Ring says the misappropriation of her likeness caused her to suffer “mental anguish and emotional distress.”
In 1999, former employee Sandy Baas sued Guess for sexual discrimination, claiming she’d been fired due to her gender and for making complaints about “discriminatory and harassing conduct” and a “sexually hostile work environment.” In her complaint, Baas mentions receiving a phone call from an employee named Jill Benton, who alleged Marciano propositioned her by inviting her to meet him in Scottsdale. Benton’s testimony on the matter indicates she was tentatively interested in Marciano, however, and that he framed the meeting as platonic. The court ruled in favor of Guess.