Paul Marciano Resigns From Guess After Sexual Misconduct Investigation
By Desiree Murphy & Liz Calvario
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for GUESS, Inc.
Paul Marciano has resigned from his responsibilities at Guess.
The Guess co-founder stepped down on Monday as executive chairman of the board and as chief creative officer after the company paid settlements to women who accused him of sexual harassment, ET confirms. Marciano has previously denied the allegations.
In a SEC report made by the company and obtained by ET, allegations against Marciano -- who will remain on the board until 2019 -- included "claims of inappropriate comments and texts, and unwanted advances including kissing and groping." The company's investigation also found that on certain occasions he "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."
Guess paid a total of $500,000 in settlements to five women “to avoid the cost of litigation and without admitting liability or fault."
Upon hearing of his resignation, Lisa Bloom -- attorney for four women who accused Marciano of sexual assault -- released a statement on the matter.
"We are pleased at today’s news that Paul Marciano has resigned as Executive Chairman of the Board of Guess?, Inc. And yet, much more remains to be done if Guess truly wants to be a brand that stands for respect for women," the statement given to ET began. "I represent four women who stood up against Mr. Marciano and Guess over the last several months. Each alleges that she was sexually assaulted by Mr. Marciano, by his groping her breasts, forcing her to perform a sex act, or both. These are serious, deeply disturbing, credible claims."
"Each of my clients, who choose to remain anonymous, spoke to lawyers for Guess and outlined her story, including contemporaneous texts and complaints of his improper behavior. We were able to fight for and win a no confidential settlement in the amount of $400,000, to compensate them for the emotional distress they allege Marciano caused," she continued. "Each of my clients chose to accept this settlement because it was preferable to litigation, especially given the statute of limitations, and because she still retains the right to tell her story one day if she chooses to do so. We are disappointed that Mr. Marciano will remain on the board through 2019. We do not believe a man with so many credible accusations of sexual assault is fit to lead any company, much less one that sells primarily to women."
In February, as the fashion brand was investigating the sexual misconduct allegations against their co-founder, made by model Kate Upton, Marciano took an unpaid leave.
"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 in a statement.
According to the statement, Guess takes all allegations of misconduct "very seriously" and is "committed to maintaining a safe work environment, and looks forward to the completion of a thorough investigation of all the facts."
As ET previously reported, Upton came forward via Twitter earlier this month, accusing Marciano of "sexually and emotionally" harassing women in a series of tweets. "It’s disappointing that such an iconic women’s brand @GUESS is still empowering Paul Marciano as their creative director #metoo," she wrote, later sharing the same message to Instagram.
A week later, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model detailed her allegations in an interview with Time. She claimed Marciano sexually harassed and assaulted her in July 2010, after the first day of shooting on a Guess lingerie campaign.
And while speaking with ET a few weeks later, she reflected on all the positive feedback she's received since speaking out on the #MeToo movement. "I appreciate the support so much. It's such an exciting time for women because now we have a platform to not allow the norm to be the norm anymore," Upton shared. "I'm just really excited about this movement and am happy to create a platform for other women to speak their stories as well."
Marciano co-founded Guess with his three brothers. He was CEO of the company until 2015, when he stepped down to become chief creative officer. Upton was the face of Guess in 2010 and 2011, appearing in multiple campaigns. Watch the video below to hear more.