A week ago supermodel Kate Upton came forward to accuse Guess co-founder Paul Marciano of “us[ing] his power in the industry to sexually and emotionally harass women.” The former Guess model did not clarify at the time whether she was talking about her own experience or harassment endured by other women, but Upton is now detailing her personal allegations against Marciano in a new interview with Time.
Marciano allegedly forcibly groped and kissed Upton during a meeting in 2010. Upton says he “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.'"
Despite her effort to push Marciano away, Upton says he continued forcibly touching her, even though photographer Yu Tsai was in the room. “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,” she said. “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. 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.”
At the time of the incident, Upton was 18 years old and Marciano was 58. Later, after Upton finally managed to get out of the situation with the help of Tsai, she learned that she had been fired from the shoot they were meeting about.
The supermodel continued to work with Guess after the incident, at the encouragement of Tsai, but the harassment from Marciano continued. “Paul’s texting increased, telling me how excited he was to see me, that 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 said. “At one point, to avoid Paul coming to set, I told him my boyfriend was going to be there. He was absolutely furious at that. It was an emotional and non-stop battle of games, power struggles and creative avoidance tactics.”
After months of increasingly direct rejections toward Marciano’s behavior, the Guess founder started to verbally attack Upton and spread rumors. “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,” she said. “I was then told to leave because Paul had said, 'Get that fat pig off my set.’”
Upton says the abuse took a huge toll on her confidence and at one point made her want to quit modeling. “I wondered if it was how I was presenting myself or what I was wearing,” she said. “I started slumping my shoulders to hide my breast size, wearing baggy clothes, started despising my own body.”
Marciano tried to get ahead of Upton’s allegations, denying that he ever harassed the model. “I am told that she has been working with others for some time to defame me and will claim that I groped her among other things,” he told TMZ on Monday. “This accusation is false. I have never touched Kate Upton. I have never been alone with Kate Upton. I have never acted inappropriately towards her."
Read Upton’s full interview with TIME here.