Fashion brand Guess said Tuesday that co-founder Paul Marciano has resigned as executive chairman in the wake of its sexual harassment investigation.
Guess said in a corporate filing that Marciano “exercised poor judgment in his communications with models and photographers” and put himself in situations that gave rise to the allegations. The conclusion was based on findings of a special committee appointed to probe the allegations.
Without naming those who complained, Guess’ statement said allegations included “inappropriate comments and texts and unwanted advances including kissing and groping.” It also said Marciano reached settlements with five of those making the allegations totaling $500,000.
Though none of those receiving settlements are named, supermodel Kate Upton was one of those who went public with allegations. She said that during a 2010 Guess lingerie photo session, Marciano aggressively kissed her, repeatedly tried to see her in her hotel room and forcibly grabbed a breast.
“After I pushed him away, he said, ‘I’m making sure they’re real,’ ” she said in an interview with Time. She was 18 at the time and on her first modeling assignment, she told Time.
Guess rose to fashion fame as a high-end jeans and sportwear maker with splashy magazine ads featuring young model, often in sexy poses.
It said Marciano’s decision was voluntary and that he will remain on the clothing firm’s board.