About a week after Kate Upton suggested Guess co-founder Paul Marciano behaved inappropriately towards her with a #MeToo tweet, she revealed all of the disturbing details that led her to come forward.
In an interview with Time magazine published on Wednesday, Upton revealed that Marciano sexually assaulted her the moment they met and continued behaving in a similar manner throughout the time she worked with him.
“After the first day of shooting the Guess Lingerie campaign [on July 25, 2010], Paul Marciano said he wanted to meet with me. As soon as I walked in with photographer Yu Tsai, Paul came straight up to me, forcibly grabbed my breasts and started feeling them — playing with them actually. After I pushed him away, he said, ‘I’m making sure they’re real,'” Upton told Time.
“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.”
Judging from Upton’s account little else happened during this meeting than abuse with a witness there in the room. She recalls having two options: “do everything I could to wiggle away” or “punch the CEO of Guess.” She decided to wiggle away.
Despite that traumatic experience on her first shoot, Upton continued to work with the brand and Marciano’s behavior continued as well. Ahead of her next shoot Upton claims Marciano began texting her inappropriately and asked to go up to her hotel room repeatedly. Upton declined again and again. The next day she was fired from the shoot.
However Guess brought her back on for another opportunity down the road. Marciano began texting her again, asking if he could watch her change so he could see her naked. As a defense, Upton told him that her boyfriend would be coming to her shoot which made Marciano “furious.”
At that point Upton claims Marciano began spreading rumors that she was drunk on set and out partying every night. She was then told to leave the set of one shoot because Marciano said, “Get that fat pig off my set.”
“It took a huge toll on my confidence and self-worth. I wanted to quit modeling,” Upton recalled. “I constantly blamed myself after it happened: What am I doing to invite someone to treat me like that or grab me like that? I wondered if it was how I was presenting myself or what I was wearing. I started slumping my shoulders to hide my breast size, wearing baggy clothes, started despising my own body.”
Years after experiencing seemingly endless abuse from the Guess co-founder, Upton finally decided to come forward and tell her story.
“I’m sick of being silenced and expected to sweep everything under the rug. I’m sick of being expected to laugh off these aggressive advances and accept the power imbalances that exist,” she told Time. “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.”
Marciano denied all of Upton’s accusations, calling them “preposterous” and “absolutely false.” He also claimed that he had never been alone with her nor “touched her inappropriately.”
“I fully support the #metoo movement,” he said in his statement. “At the same time, I will not allow others to defame me and tarnish my reputation. I have pledged to Guess and its Board of Directors my full support and cooperation with a fair and impartial investigation.”