Paul Marciano will temporarily cease from performing his day-to-day functions at Guess as the fashion icon faces accusations of sexual harassment by one of the company’s former faces, model and actress Kate Upton. The Guess co-founder will relinquish his duties as executive chairman of the board and chief creative officer while the company investigates the matter, according to CNBC.
In a statement released by Guess, the company said the decision for Marciano, 65, to step aside “pending the completion of the investigation” was agreed upon by both the board of directors and Marciano. Guess also announced Marciano will not receive any salary during the period.
“I have pledged my full cooperation to the Company, and I have the utmost confidence in our CEO, Victor Herrero, to continue leading the Company during this time,” Marciano said.
Guess formed a special committee to oversee the investigations regarding Marciano’s alleged sexual misconduct. The board of directors supposedly hired outside lawyers to conduct the investigation. The company will decide on Marciano’s future with Guess at the conclusion of the inquiry.
Despite the move, Marciano insists he is innocent of the accusations thrown against him by the 25-year-old Upton.
“This accusation is false,” Marciano said. “I have never touched Kate Upton. I have never been alone with Kate Upton. I have never acted inappropriately towards her.”
Upton first accused Marciano of sexual harassment and emotional abuse through Twitter on January 31, as reported in a previous Inquisitr article. Upton initially posted a cryptic tweet expressing her disappointment over Paul Marciano being the creative director of “such an iconic brand.” She ended the tweet with the #MeToo hashtag. Upton followed that up with an Instagram post saying Marciano “shouldn’t be allowed to use his power in the industry to sexually and emotionally harass women.” Upton did not provide details at the time.
In an interview with Time a week after her tweet, Upton revealed Marciano groped her breasts back in 2010 while shooting for a Guess Lingerie campaign. According to Upton, Marciano suddenly grabbed and played with her breasts before she was able to push him away. Afterwards, Marciano supposedly said he was only “making sure they’re real.”
The meeting and sexual harassment continued, according to Upton. Marciano allegedly kept touching Upton on her thighs, shoulders, arms, and neck. The Guess co-founder also supposedly grabbed Upton by the back of her head and kissed her face and neck. Upton said she was thinking of a way to stop Marciano without saying anything so he wouldn’t get a chance to put his tongue inside her mouth.
“I had two options: do everything I could to wiggle away and avoid his pursuit, or punch the CEO of Guess.”
After Upton successfully wiggled away, Marciano offered to walk Upton back to her hotel room. The model declined fearing he could do worse when they are left alone. Upton was with photographer Yu Tsai when the alleged sexual harassment took place. Yu Tsai corroborated Upton’s story.
The sexual harassment controversy involving Marciano has already had a negative impact on the company as Guess shares have dropped 22 percent since Upton’s #MeToo tweet, according to Fortune. Marciano is also losing money. The Guess CEO apparently lost $52.8 million from his shares in the company.