Empowered by the #MeToo movement, Kate Upton broke her silence and detailed the sexual harassment she endured from Guess cofounder Paul Marciano in the duration of her time modeling for the popular brand.
Upton said Marciano grabbed her breasts, kissed her neck and face, and touched her inappropriately. The 25-year-old model recalled that after the first shooting for the Guess Lingerie campaign on July 25, 2010, he asked to meet her. As soon as she walked into a room with photographer Yu Tsai, Marciano forcibly grabbed her breasts and started feeling them. Upton said he was playing with them and made an excuse about making sure that they were real after she pushed him away. She remembered feeling shaken, scared, and surprised by his behavior.
"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," Upton recalled in an exclusive interview with Time.
At one point, Marciano held her head back so that she could not move, and he started kissing her neck and face. Upton did not talk for fear of having the man's tongue in her mouth. Instead, she wiggled away.
Degrading And Possessive Language
A month after, Upton received a call from Marciano asking to see her hotel room. She declined to let him up to her room several times. The following day she got fired and was told that she got fat. At this point, no one from Guess had even seen her.
However, Guess asked her to continue working with them, and she worked out a plan with Tsai to avoid a repeat of her encounter with Marciano. Anytime she would meet the CEO, she would text the photographer so that he would be there as well. However, their plan backfired when Tsai got fired and Upton worked with Ellen von Unwerth.
Upton's time with Guess was filled with worry and fear of what Marciano would do to her if they were alone together. The CEO would constantly check on her and send her texts. Upton recalled the language he used was "extremely dominant and possessive." One time he told her that he wanted to see her change in front of him so that he could see her naked body getting into his clothes.
She also declined a dinner invitation, which made Marciano "outwardly rude and degrading" during her final shoot with Guess in 2011. He called her "disgusting" and made up stories about how she would arrive on set drunk. He eventually asked her to leave after calling her a "fat pig."
Tsai and Von Unwerth both support Upton's allegations against Marciano. Tsai said he witnessed the sexual harassment.
Upton's interview comes after she accused the director of sexual harassment in her tweet. However, Marciano denied having touched her or having been alone with her. He also said that the truth will eventually come out when they face each other in court.