Guess boss Paul Marciano resigns over sexual misconduct allegations | Lifestyle | DW | 13.06.2018
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages


Guess boss Paul Marciano resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

The global fashion brand announced that its co-founder is stepping down following its own investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and assault made by model Kate Upton and others.

Paul Marciano is resigning immediately as executive chairman of the Guess board due to claims of sexual misconduct. He will be replaced by his brother Maurice Marciano, another company co-founder, according to a filing by Guess with the Securities and Exchange Commission released on Tuesday.

"The investigation found that on certain occasions Marciano exercised poor judgment in his communications with models and photographers and in placing himself in situations in which plausible allegations of improper conduct could, and did, arise," the filing said.

Having denied the allegations, 66-year-old Marciano, who owns a 17 percent stake in Guess Inc., will remain a board member and chief creative officer until his contract expires at the end of January 2019.

The company, whose designer female clothing line reached peak popularity in the 1980s and 90s, said it has settled lawsuits with five of Paul Marciano's accusers totaling $500,000 (over €425,000).

Read moreInfluential photographers Mario Testino and Bruce Weber accused of sexual misconduct

'Insecure and powerless'

The allegations first surfaced when model Kate Upton said in a Time magazine interview that Marciano grabbed her breasts during a Guess photo shoot in 2010.

A month later, he repeatedly asked to come to her hotel room but she declined and then turned off her phone and locked the door. The next morning she had been fired on the grounds that she had "gotten fat."

A women stands akimbo in sequined dress (picture-alliance/AP Images/E. Agostini)

Kate Upton alleges the Guess boss groped her in 2010

"It's disappointing that such an iconic women's brand @GUESS is still empowering Paul Marciano as their creative director #MeToo," Upton tweeted in January.

"Paul used his power to make me feel insecure and powerless, but I'm not going to let him intimidate me anymore. These men think they are untouchable, but times are changing," Upton added in the Time interview.

#MeToo fights back

It was a nod to the #MeToo movement that had become empowered after scores of women alleged decades of sexual harassment and abuse suffered at the hands of entertainment industry figureheads such as film producer Harvey Weinstein.

The allegations have most recently inculcated actor Morgan Freeman and French director Luc Besson, among many others.

In the wake of Upton's accusations, a special committee of the Guess board hired an outside law firm to investigate several reports of inappropriate comments and texts along with unwanted kissing and groping.

While the firm failed to corroborate some allegations, the filing noted that in other cases "the investigation found that credible accounts were given by both sides."

Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents four of the five women accusers who settled with Guess, said in a statement that they are pleased Marciano is stepping down as board chair but disappointed he'll stay on in other capacities.

"We do not believe a man with so many credible accusations of sexual assault is fit to lead any company," Bloom said, "much less one that sells primarily to women."

sb/eg (AP, AFP)

DW recommends