The #MeToo movement is making its mark across the fashion industry. Model Kate Upton is calling out Guess co-founder Paul Marciano for alleged sexual misconduct, prompting the brand to start an investigation.
On Wednesday, Time Magazine published an article about the accusations, where Upton shared her experience at Guess and how Marciano allegedly verbally harassed and touched her inappropriately when she modeled for the clothing label.
Marciano denied the accusations in a statement to Time and claimed that the incidents were “absolutely false.”
“I have never been alone with Kate Upton,” Marciano said. “I have never touched her inappropriately, nor would I ever refer to a Guess model in such a derogatory manner.”
Nevertheless, the company today announced it is appointing a special committee to oversee an external investigation into the matter.
Guess said in a release, “As a leader in the fashion industry, Guess?, Inc. takes seriously any allegation of sexual harassment. The Company does not condone such misconduct in any form.”
Upton claimed that while shooting her first Guess campaign in 2010, Marciano grabbed her chest inappropriately. She said fashion photographer Yu Tsai was present at the time of the incident—and from that point forward, looked out for Upton on her additional photo shoots with the brand.
“It took a huge toll on my confidence and self-worth. I wanted to quit modeling. I’m sick of being expected to laugh off these aggressive advances and accept the power imbalances that exist,” Upton told Time Magazine. “I’m sick of being expected to endure all of this while being polite and professional through it all.”
In a statement, Tsai told CNN that he is, “extremely moved by the strength and courage that it has taken Kate Upton to tell her story and for the countless brave women and men who have already come forward.”
On Friday, Upton appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and said she feels better after having spoken up.
“As soon as I did my article with Time, I felt a sense of relief,” said Upton on the show. “It’s a new climate… women are coming together and you’re able to have that platform to share your story and create real change for other women.”