Supermodel Kate Upton decided to take part in the #MeToo movement when she wrecked Paul Marciano’s image in a social media post. Marciano, co-founder and former CEO of Guess, is the husband of the French model Mareva Georges, an activist of the campaign that protects children and women from abuse.
Ms. Upton first tweeted about the issue without narrating the specifics of the circumstances. However, she then scheduled an interview with Time in which she provided the details of her allegations and experiences.
The tweets that Upton wrote, which she also shared as screen captures on Instagram, explain:
“It’s disappointing that such an iconic women’s brand @Guess is still empowering Paul Marciano as their creative director #metoo – He shouldn’t be allowed to use his power in the industry to sexually and emotionally harass women #metoo.”
Meeting the predator
The model told Time that the harassment began when she was just 18 years old, the age she was starting her professional modeling career. She took the audience back in time to July 25, 2010, when she was shooting her first campaign with Guess Lingerie.
The first time she was ever assaulted by Marciano happened when he called her for a meeting. She accepted and went with the photographer Yu Tsai.
In the meeting, Marciano violently grabbed her breast and played with them, claiming he wanted to make sure they “were real.”
“Despite doing everything I could physically do to avoid his touch throughout the meeting, he continued to touch me in a very dominating and aggressive way, grabbing my thighs, my arms to pull me closer, my shoulders to pull me closer, my neck, my breasts, and smelling me. He then told Yu Tsai to leave us alone. I was able to send a quick text to Yu Tsai asking him to stay. He did, but that did not stop Paul’s constant grabbing. I was extremely shaken, surprised and scared,” Kate Upton said.
Upton also stated that Marciano aggressively grabbed her head from behind to immobilize her, and then kissed her face and neck. Kate explained she did not want to open her mouth to say anything because she knew he would stick his tongue in her mouth. Upton claimed she had to decide between do everything she could to “wiggle away” from Marciano, or punch him. She picked the first option.
Later that day, Mr. Marciano asked her to leave him be her company when walking to her hotel room, which Kate immediately refused to. Since photographer Yu Tsai knew what he was trying to do and could feel Kate’s fear, he insisted on being the one walking the model to the room. According to the model, she felt relieved after hearing Yu Tsai’s words.
The fear comes back
The second time the model worked with Guess, a month later or so, Marciano started to call her hotel room, right after she arrived the establishment. The excuse he gave for this desperate calling was because he wanted to make sure the room was okay.
Kate started to feel even more scared than before when the man told her he was already in the hotel lobby. She claimed he also called from the lobby desk. Since Upton was already terrified, she decided to turn off her phone, lock her door and try to sleep. She didn’t want to think of anything else, especially not about the nightmare it would mean if Marciano managed to enter the room.
Next day, someone from Guess called her agency and explained Kate was fired because she got fat, and that she was not needed on set anymore. Still, Guess kept asking her to work with them later on.
Yu Tsai was the witness of Kate’s fear, since she told him, in confidence, that fear would not let her model for a shoot with the company anymore. Nevertheless, she did. She would make plans with Yu Tsai to never be alone with Marciano, to minimize the damage he could do.
Kate was not called until a few days before the shoot in case she wanted to stop talking to Marciano, and his sexual-dominant attitude only increased with time. Kate even took her boyfriend to a shoot, and it seemed to have a null effect on Marciano.
Fired and confused
A couple of months later, Tsai was fired, and photographer Ellen Von Unwerth was hired. Ellen told Kate she thought Marciano was very fond of the model. Kate did not know if she could trust her, so she did not address the subject.
Later, Ellen realized what was going on when Marciano tried to take Kate aggressively by the arm and force her to go alone to dinner with him – even straightforwardly rejecting Ellen’s company. She stood up for Kate, saying that if she was not invited, then neither was Kate.
Finally, Kate started to face Marciano. He fired her because she was, as he said, a fat pig. He then asked the team to get her out of the set.
Until this day, Kate remembers the way he’d ask her to change in front of him so he could see her naked body. So she walked away from a $400.000 contract in 2012 with Guess. She claimed models have no idea how to address the issue since it is so common and accepted among a group of them, and that this silence culture needs to be stopped.
Source: USA Today