Guess founder quits amid sexual harassment allegations

Published: June 13, 2018
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Investigators interviewed more than 40 people and reviewed around 1.5 million pages of documents. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Investigators interviewed more than 40 people and reviewed around 1.5 million pages of documents. PHOTO: EXPRESS

The co-founder of fashion brand Guess Paul Marciano resigned as executive chairman on Wednesday amid claims of improper conduct but will stay on its board until 2019.

The fashion brand said that a committee was unable to confirm a number of allegations against Paul Marciano, including kissing and groping.

But it found that he “exercised poor judgement in his communications with models and photographers”.

US-based Guess and Paul Marciano will pay $500,000 to five persons.

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The allegations levelled against Marciano, who remains as chief creative officer of Guess, first came to light back in February when US model Kate Upton tweeted that it was “disappointing” Guess was still “empowering” him as its creative director.

After this in an interview with Time magazine, Upton claimed he had sexually assaulted her.

Upton’s allegations were corroborated by photographer Yu Tsai.

Marciano said the claims were “absolutely false”.

In a statement, Guess said the allegations against him “included claims of inappropriate comments and texts, and unwanted advances including kissing and groping”.

It said that investigators interviewed more than 40 people and reviewed around 1.5 million pages of documents.

“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. And, in other cases, the investigation found that credible accounts were given by both sides,” the fashion brand’s statement reads.

“The investigation found that on certain occasions 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,” it says.

Supermodel Kate Upton accuses Guess co-founder of sexual misconduct

Marciano has been replaced as chairman by his brother Maurice Marciano and will leave the company on January 30 2019 when his contract expires.

Paul Marciano will also continue to receive his salary until he leaves. His salary was suspended between February 20 and June 11 during which time the allegations were investigated and presented to the board of Guess.

The article originally appeared in the BBC

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