The anonymous model who accused Guess founder Paul Marciano of sexual assault earlier this year was granted permission to maintain the pseudonym of Jane Doe in court.
An article published on The Daily Beast on Tuesday stated that Marciano filed a motion to reveal her identity last month, but was unsuccessful. Guess did not return Rivet’s request for comment.
Doe filed a lawsuit against the Guess executive and his namesake company in January for what she claims was quid pro quo sexual harassment, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment. She alleged Marciano sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions, beginning in 2017 after a photo shoot in which he inappropriately touched her, and after which he repeatedly asked her for topless photos and offered her career opportunities in exchange for silence. Then in February 2020, she claimed he forced her to perform oral sex on him during what she thought would be a meeting to discuss new career opportunities.
After filing a written complaint months later, she described Guess’ human resources department as uncooperative, adding that it “failed to prevent discrimination and harassment,” and “created, fostered, tolerated and condoned a work environment that was pervasively and/or severely hostile.” She was later replaced by another model for a scheduled shoot in what Doe considers an act of retaliation.
Following news of the lawsuit, Eileen Toal, a former employee of a boutique affiliated with the Marciano family, also came forward with allegations of sexual assault at the hands of Marciano. She alleged the incident happened after he gave her a ride in 1983 when she was 18 years old. She said she immediately told his brother Maurice—her boyfriend at the time—but he ultimately dismissed her story and claimed, “That’s just Paul.”
Doe and Toal are not the only women to make claims against Marciano. In 2018, model Kate Upton accused him of verbal harassment and inappropriate touching when they worked together in 2010. The accusations triggered an investigation, which resulted in settlement agreements totaling $500,000 with five individuals who had accused the founder of sexual harassment. At the time, Marciano resigned from his role as executive chairman, but returned as a Guess board member and chief creative officer the following year.
This year, the company launched a model-led mentorship program following Toal’s allegations in April. The Guess Safe Spaces/Model2Model Program, led by Guess model Xian Mikol, was said to provide participants with skill-based training, professional mentorship and emotional and mental health assistance, with individuals receiving support tailored to their specific needs.
Mikol developed the program in partnership with victim’s rights attorney Micha Star Liberty (the program’s advisor) and the Guess executive team, and provided participants with access to longtime Guess partner, the Violence Intervention Program (VIP), a community family advocacy center that supports more than 20,000 victims of family violence and sexual assault each year.
Sexual assault allegations throughout the fashion industry have made headlines in recent years. In December 2020, Canadian fashion executive Peter Nygard was charged with racketeering, sex trafficking, and related crimes that spanned 10 years, dozens of victims and multiple countries. More recently, multiple unidentified models claimed designer Alexander Wang sexually assaulted them.
The more recent charges and allegations may have contributed to the statement-making fashion show during New York Fashion Week in September, in which Amanda Nguyen, founder of the civil rights organization Rise, called on survivors of sexual assault to walk the runway. Models included actor and former NFL player Terry Crews, actor Kelly Marie Tran, astronaut Kellie Gerardi and others, all of whom identify as survivors.
Nguyen told The New York Times that the typically fashion-focused question of “What were/are you wearing?” takes on a completely different meaning when a victim is asked after a sexual assault. “Years ago, when I was raped, I had to answer the same question and it was meant to be shameful,” she told the publication. She described the event as an opportunity for survivors to reclaim their power and celebrate “not just surviving, but thriving.”