What Was Paul Marciano Accused Of? Guess Cofounder Resigns After Kate Upton Complaints

The cofounder of fashion brand Guess has resigned from his position as a sexual harassment investigation against him gathers steam.

Paul Marciano left his post as the company’s executive chairman after a special committee completed an investigation into the businessman over allegations of improper conduct, Reuters reported.

A Guess statement said he stands accused of “inappropriate comments and texts and unwanted advances including kissing and groping.” Marciano has reached financial settlements with five accusers, totalling $500,000.

RTR4YFK Armand (L) Paul (C) and Maurice Marciano, founders of the Guess clothing line, pose as they arrive at their company's 20th anniversary party in Los Angeles on May 9, 2002. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Marciano gave up his responsibilities on an unpaid basis in February, soon after model and actor Kate Upton said Marciano was using his powerful position to harass women.

During a lingerie photoshoot for Guess in 2010—her first modeling assignment at the age of 18—Upton claimed Marciano had aggressively kissed her, repeatedly tried to see her naked in her hotel room and groped her breast. “After I pushed him away, he said, 'I’m making sure they’re real,’” she told Time.

In a statement to the magazine, Marciano dismissed Upton's allegations. “I have never been alone with Kate Upton. I have never touched her inappropriately. Nor would I ever refer to a Guess model in such a derogatory manner,” he said.

A Guess statement noted that not all of the allegations could be corroborated, but acknowledged “Marciano exercised poor judgment in his communications with models and photographers and in placing himself in situations in which plausible allegations of improper conduct could, and did, arise.”

The probe saw more than 40 people interviewed and around 1.5 million pages of documents reviewed. These included financial records, emails and social media messages.

Attorney Lisa Bloom was representing four of the five women who made the allegations. Bloom said she was “delighted this day has arrived.” She explained the settlements were reached after the victims detailed the alleged assaults to Guess lawyers.

RTS10J6C Model and actor Kate Upton is pictured at Oscars Vanity Fair Party for the 89th Academy Awards in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., on February 26, 2017. Upton was one of Marciano's accusers. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Maurice Marciano, Paul’s brother, has now been appointed as chairman of the board. The company said Paul would remain a member of the board. In response, Bloom tweeted: “In my opinion a man with this many allegations of sexual assault is not fit to remain on the board.”

Marciano relinquished his role as CEO of Guess in 2015, but as chairman and chief creative officer retained huge influence over the company. Marciano was the art director for an advertising campaign featuring singer and actor Jennifer Lopez this past winter.

Born to a Jewish family in Morocco, Marciano was raised in Marseilles, France, and spent time living in Israel. Paul, Maurice and Armand Marciano moved to California in the early 1980s and launched Guess.

Marciano has been married twice and has four children. His current wife, Mareva Georges, who is both former Miss France and former Miss Tahiti, has worked as an advocate for the protection of abused women and children.

Updated | Past comments by Paul Marciano.