Kate Upton Details Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Guess Co-Founder Paul Marciano
By Zach Seemayer
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One week after Kate Upton accused Guess co-founder and creative director Paul Marciano of sexual harassment on Twitter, the supermodel is sharing details regarding her allegations.
Speaking with Time on Wednesday, the 25-year-old Sports Illustrated swimsuit model claims Marciano sexually harassed and assaulted her in July 2010, after the first day of shooting on a Guess lingerie campaign.
"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,'" alleged Upton, who was 18 at the time.
Upton said that she did "everything I could physically do to avoid his touch throughout the meeting," but claimed that the now-65-year-old fashion mogul continued to touch her in a "very dominating and aggressive way."
According to the supermodel, Marciano told Yu Tsai to leave, but she texted the photographer asking him to stay, which he did. However, Upton claims his presence didn't deter Marciano from making sexual advances.
"At one point, he forcibly grabbed the back of my head so that I could not move and started kissing my face and my neck," Upton alleged. "I remember not wanting to say, 'Get off of me,' because I didn’t want to open my mouth to say anything because I didn’t want him to be able to put his tongue in my mouth."
"I had two options: do everything I could to wiggle away and avoid his pursuit, or punch the CEO of Guess," she continued. "So I decided to just wiggle away."
Upton said that Marciano then insisted he walk her up to her hotel room, and she declined, recalling, "The only thing I was thinking is if he touches me like that in public, I can’t imagine what he’d try to do in private."
One month later, Upton says she was working on another shoot for Guess when she started getting calls from Marciano, asking to come up to her room. After rejecting the requests, Upton claims she was fired.
"The next day, I learned that I had been fired from the shoot. Someone had called my agency to say I had gotten fat and would not be needed on set [that day]," she stated. "I was devastated, especially because at this point no one from Guess had even seen me."
According to Upton, Marciano began texting her frequently after that incident. She claims that he used language that was "was extremely dominant and possessive."
"Paul’s texting increased, telling me how excited he was to see me, that he wanted me to change in front of him so he could see my naked body getting into his clothes. He asked if I thought of him when I was posing sexy on set," Upton claims. "At one point, to avoid Paul coming to set, I told him my boyfriend was going to be there. He was absolutely furious at that. It was an emotional and non-stop battle of games, power struggles and creative avoidance tactics."
Upton said that she and Yu Tsai "came up with a plan" to have the photographer around any time she would be in a room with Marciano. Yu Tsai was eventually fired from a shoot for Guess Jeans, however, and replaced by photographer Ellen von Unwerth.
During a shoot, Upton alleges that Marciano invited her out for dinner, which she once again declined. The model claims that her refusal led to the creative director being "outwardly rude and degrading" during her final shoot with Guess in 2011.
"He said I was 'disgusting' and started telling people how unprofessional I was by spreading rumors that I was drunk on set and partying every night, which of course I wasn’t," Upton claimed. "I was then told to leave because Paul had said, 'Get that fat pig off my set.'"
Marciano released a statement to Time flatly denying Upton's accusations, which he called "absolutely false" and "preposterous."
"I have never been alone with Kate Upton," Marciano told Time. "I have never touched her inappropriately. Nor would I ever refer to a Guess model in such a derogatory manner… I fully support the #metoo movement. 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."
Time stated that they reached out to Yu Tsai and that the photographer "corroborated details of her allegations."
Ultimately, Upton said the alleged interactions "took a huge toll" on her self-esteem and made her reconsider her career.
"I wanted to quit modeling. 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," she stated. "I started slumping my shoulders to hide my breast size, wearing baggy clothes, started despising my own body."
"Over time, you minimize and internalize your experiences. You chalk it up to, 'This is how it is.' And you go through this gut-wrenching struggle of, 'How much of myself am I required to sacrifice?'" she added.
According to the model, the power of the #MeToo movement and the surging tide of women speaking out against powerful abusers inspired her to come forward with her allegations.
"Paul used his power to make me feel insecure and powerless, but I’m not going to let him intimidate me anymore," Upton stated. "These men think they are untouchable, but times are changing."
ET has reached out to reps for Marciano and Upton for comment.