Guess? Co-Founder Paul Marciano Officially Steps Down

Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images.
After stepping away from his daily duties as cofounder and chief creative officer of Guess? following sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, Paul Marciano has officially stepped down from the fashion brand. In a report filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company confirmed what has been speculated for months.
"Many of the allegations could not be corroborated. In some cases, no conclusion could be reached because the individuals either declined to be interviewed or provided insufficient information to the investigators," the filing reads. More than 40 people were interviewed, including some 1.5 million records of emails, texts, travel itineraries, photos, invoices, and more, which were confiscated. "In other cases, the investigation found that credible accounts were given by both sides. The investigation found that on certain occasions Mr. 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."
Marciano, who holds a 15.6% stake in the company, will officially transfer all of his duties to Guess? CEO Victor Herrero by January 30, 2019. He will remain on the company board.
This article was originally published on February 1, 2018.
Update: On Thursday, TIME published an interview with Kate Upton in which the model alleged Guess? co-founder Paul Marciano forcibly grabbed her breasts, as well as engaged in other forms of sexual harassment. Earlier this week, Upton suggested misconduct by Marciano on Twitter, but did not go into detail about her alleged encounters. Marciano has previously denied all claims of harassment against him.
This post was originally published on February 5.
Update: Guess? co-founder Paul Marciano has responded to allegations made by model Kate Upton last week via Twitter, in which the former campaign star accused Marciano of sexual misconduct. In a statement to TMZ, the retail mogul denies all. "This accusation is false. I have never touched Kate Upton. I have never been alone with Kate Upton. I have never acted inappropriately towards her," he wrote.
Marciano went on to underscore the fact that Upton has yet to reveal the full story, nor provide any details outside of her use of the #MeToo hashtag. "In today's world, people post things on social media without consequence," he added. "A number of women — some of whom I have never met and do not know — have joined Ms. Upton online and called me me [sic] 'horrible,' a 'tyrant,' a 'monster' and a 'disgusting pig.'" Though Upton told the tabloid she was "excited" to tell her story in its entirety, as of publication, she's yet to come forward with more information. Marciano refuses to back down.
"I have devoted my entire career to building a fashion company and brand that have a long and proud record of empowering women. I full support the #metoo movement. At the same time, I will not stand by and watch my reputation be tarnished," he continued. "I have pledged to the Guess Board of Directors that I will fully cooperate with a fair and impartial investigation into all of the facts. I have complete trust and confidence that the actual facts — not unverified tweets or uncorroborated Instagram posts — will prove that the accusations against me are untruthful." As we wait for Upton to respond, we've reached out to Guess? for additional comment and will update this story if/when we hear back.
This article was originally published on February 1st, 2018.
At this point, these types of incidents do not need a florid introduction, so we'll get right into it. On Wednesday, model Kate Upton brought to light another alleged abuser in the fashion industry, via tweet that read "It's disappointing that such an iconic women's brand #Guess is still empowering Paul Marciano as their creative director," adding the #MeToo hashtag at the end. The model, whose Guess? ads contributed to her early success, later reposted her message to Instagram, adding that Marciano shouldn't be allowed "to use his power in the industry to sexually and emotionally harass women." While waves of support for Upton are rolling in, the comments section of her posts contain further revelations, too.
Following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, women of all industries, particularly those in the public eye, have come forward with their own experiences of sexual assault and misconduct in the workplace. In addition to Upton, models have lead the charge in the ousting of several top photographers, such as Terry Richardson, Mario Testino, and Bruce Weber — all of whom Upton has worked with. And just like we've seen in times of other accusations, one high-profile person speaking out is all that's needed to spark the confidence in others to speak out.
Upton's tweet was retweeted by her husband, Astros pitcher Justin Verlander. When asked recently by a TMZ photographer about the situation, Upton responded, "I'm excited to tell my whole story, but a walk to the car is not gonna cover it." The model added that she believes a lot of employees are aware of sexual harassment within the workplace, but neglect to speak out about it. As we wait for Upton's story to unfold, we've reached out to Guess? for comment and will update this story if/when we hear back.
If you have experienced sexual violence of any kind, please visit Rape Crisis or call 0808 802 9999.

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