These days, the world knows who Kate Upton is. She’s beautiful. She was in that commercial for a phone game that looks more interesting than it probably is. And she just got married in November.
Sadly, she also has a #MeToo story, accusing Guess co-founder Paul Marciano of sexual harassment.
Now, Kate Upton is sharing the details of her accusations from her time as a Guess model, early in her career.
Kate Upton dropped her bombshell of a #MeToo story, starting with a single tweet.
“It’s disappointing that such an iconic women’s brand @Guess is still empowering Paul Marciano as their creative director #metoo.”
She followed that up on Instagram, sharing that tweet and adding:
“He shouldn’t be allowed to use his position within the industry to sexually and emotionally harass women. #metoo.”
So, in case it wasn’t immediately clear from her use of the #MeToo hashtag, she’s accusing Paul Marciano of being one of the various sex monsters who uses his power to get away with his misdeeds.
For his part, Paul Marciano denies everything.
“I have never been alone with Kate Upton,” he says, though that doesn’t necessarily mean much on its own in light of Kate’s description that you’ll read below.
“I have never touched her inappropriately. Nor would I ever refer to a Guess model in such a derogatory manner.”
You’ll see what he allegedly said about her below, also.
“I fully support the #metoo movement. At the same time, I will not allow others to defame me and tarnish my reputation.”
Well, at least he’s not using that absurd “has #metoo gone too far” rhetoric that some people keep spouting.
“I have pledged to Guess and its Board of Directors my full support and cooperation with a fair and impartial investigation.”
Photographer Yu Tsai, however, has confirmed Kate Upton’s descriptions of harassment.
Speaking to Time, Kate Upton talks about alleged sexual harassment she faced at the very beginning of her career.
“After the first day of shooting the Guess Lingerie campaign [on July 25, 2010], Paul Marciano said he wanted to meet with me.”
That seems normal. The rest does not.
“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.'”
Needless to say, that is unacceptable. (This is beside the point, but if he couldn’t visually determine if they were real or not, how would that matter for the photoshoot?)
“Despite doing everything I could physically do to avoid his touch throughout the meeting, he continued to touch me in a very dominating and aggressive way, grabbing my thighs, my arms to pull me closer, my shoulders to pull me closer, my neck, my breasts, and smelling me.”
Ewww! And, obviously, horrible.
“He then told Yu Tsai to leave us alone. I was able to send a quick text to Yu Tsai asking him to stay. He did, but that did not stop Paul’s constant grabbing. I was extremely shaken, surprised and scared.”
“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.”
That sounds so gross.
“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.”
A horrifying situation to contemplate. And I’d bet that there are people who read Upton’s words and can relate.
“I had two options: do everything I could to wiggle away and avoid his pursuit, or punch the CEO of Guess. So I decided to just wiggle away.”
She says that Paul Marciano tried to insist that he walk her to her hotel room, but that Yu Tsai stepped in and volunteered to walk her to her room.
Upton says that she was afraid of what Marciano might do if the two of them were truly alone. She also says that he tried again.
“The next Guess shoot I worked on was about a month later. As soon as I went up to my hotel room, Paul started calling me asking to come up and see how my room is.”
That is not as subtle as it must have sounded in his mind.
“I politely declined several times. He continued to insist. He said he was already in the hotel lobby. He even called my room from the hotel lobby desk.”
She says that she finally turned off her phone, locked her door, and went to sleep. Unfortunately, she also says that her denials had immediate consequences.
“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]. I was devastated, especially because at this point no one from Guess had even seen me.”
That was not, obviously, the end of her career. But Upton says that she felt that, at any given moment, it could be.
“It made me feel that if I cut off communication with him, I wouldn’t be booked again. Paul’s texting increased, telling me how excited he was to see me.”
The content of those text messages was pretty horrifying, too.
“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.”
She also says that Yu Tsai was fired, perhaps in retaliation for shielding her with his presence. Upton says that photographer Ellen von Unwerth also interceded on her behalf to help her avoid being forced into an unwanted dinner.
It seems that her refusing to have dinner with him was the last straw for Marciano.
“After that he was extremely upset. I had a final shoot [in May of 2011], and he was outwardly rude and degrading the entire time.”
That alone would be unprofessional of him and unacceptable.
“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. I was then told to leave because Paul had said, ‘Get that fat pig off my set.'”
Kate Upton would later go on to see fame and success after her Sports Illustrated cover.
She says that Guess asked her back … but that Paul Marciano’s texting her that he would be on set and insisting that she not bring her boyfriend drove her to turn down $400,000.