Allegations of sexual assault and misconduct around Guess Inc. and its founder Paul Marciano are not going away.
A model who said she worked with Guess for several years, using the pseudonym Jane Doe, this week filed in Los Angeles court a new lawsuit against the company and Marciano, alleging that he assaulted her and that, while she and other models have come forward with credible claims of harassment and assault, the company has continued to “harbor and enable” the “recidivist sexual predator.”
“Instead of listening to at least seven women who went on the record against its founder, board member and chief creative officer, Guess has kept Marciano at its helm, allowing him to continue to use his prestigious position to lure and sexually assault more young female models,” the lawsuit claims. The model is represented by Lisa Bloom, daughter of attorney Gloria Allred. Since initially representing Harvey Weinstein in the early days of his defense against numerous claims of sexual assault, Bloom has shifted to representing women in their harassment and assault claims against men, including women at Fox News.
Guess and Marciano have financially settled several sexual harassment and assault claims in recent years. Model Kate Upton in 2018 publicly aired her own allegations of Marciano harassing her and grabbing her in separate instances on a photo shoot for the brand. She later called an “internal investigation” Guess said it had launched into the various claims against Marciano a “stunt” as the company was using the executive’s personal lawyer to head it.
While Guess initially said Marciano would leave Guess in light of the allegations, he did not end up doing so and remains chief creative officer and on the executive board. His brother, Maurice Marciano, is chairman of the board. In naming a new chief executive officer for the brand a year ago, Guess said Paul Marciano was staying with the company in his executive capacity “at the request of the board of directors,” meaning his contract had been renewed.
His ongoing role at the company allowed Marciano “continued access” to Doe, according to the latest lawsuit, who claims to have been sexually assaulted by him in February 2020 after being lured to an empty West Hollywood apartment on “the pretense of advancing her modeling career.” While the Guess brand has lost some of its popularity of the ’80s and ’90s, when the likes of Claudia Schiffer and Carla Bruni were faces of the brand, and has had years of financial ups and downs, it still lures major names for its campaigns, even recently Jennifer Lopez, Gigi Hadid and Hailey Baldwin.
But when the Doe model went to the apartment, she claims it was Marciano there alone and he immediately began kissing and groping her, forced her onto a bed, the only piece of furniture in the apartment. After she repeatedly expressed her aversion to what was happening, she claims to have been forced to perform oral sex on him. Upon her leaving, Marciano gave her a $1,000 Guess gift card and promised her more modeling work. He also told her to delete all of their text messages from the day regarding the meeting.
When Doe eventually in September complained directly to Guess about Marciano’s alleged assault, the company allegedly canceled all of her remaining work. While it promised it would “look into” her claims, she says the company has not contacted her since making her complaint.
Guess filed a statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission stating only that the company is “aware” of the lawsuit and it “disputes these claims fully and will vigorously defend the case in court.”
Marciano’s attorney Gary Jay Kaufman wrote in a separate statement that the model’s accusations are “pure fiction” and personally went after her attorney, Bloom.
“As is typical of Lisa Bloom, an attorney who currently has lawsuits pending against her for defamation and fraud, the claims were designed to provoke sensational media attention and extract outrageous sums of money,” Kauffman said. “We view this as a shakedown that will become crystal clear when all of the facts and evidence are presented in court.”
Doe is suing Guess and Marciano for a hostile work environment, sexual harassment, sexual battery, sexual assault, false imprisonment and retaliation, among other claims. She is seeking unspecified damages, including lost future earnings.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated to include comment from Marciano’s attorney and Guess, which was not provided upon request prior to publication.