Guess Chairman Paul Marciano Steps Down After Sexual Misconduct Investigation

Five months after model Kate Upton posted a cryptic #MeToo message aimed at Paul Marciano, the Guess co-founder and chair, Marciano has announced he will be leaving the brand.

An internal investigation was launched after allegations of improper conduct on the part of Marciano came to light. Those allegations included, “inappropriate comments and texts and unwanted advances including kissing and groping.” Investigators interviewed over 40 people and combed through approximately 1.5 million pages of documents. Despite their thorough investigation, many of the allegations could not be corroborated. Even so, Marciano voluntarily stepped down this week.

The co-founder started to distance himself from the company in February, shortly after Upton’s tweet. He has now removed himself from the day-to-day operations at Guess. Marciano will be replaced by his older brother Maurice, who helped create the iconic brand. However, Marciano will remain on the board until his contract expires in early 2019, at which point he will leave the board entirely.

Photography via Getty Images.

Guess is known for its sexy, provocative and retro advertising campaigns. Many a young model’s career, as in the case of the late Anna Nicole Smith, has been built off of their time as a “Guess Girl”. Even established actresses like Priyanka Chopra and most recently, Jennifer Lopez have appeared in the brand’s campaigns.

For Upton, landing a Guess lingerie campaign at 18-years-old was a huge deal. But in an interview with Time, she accused Marciano of repeatedly touching her during a photoshoot in a “very dominating and aggressive way.”

In the statement given on Tuesday, Guess stated that Marciano “did place himself in situations in which plausible allegations of improper conduct could, and did, arise.” The former chair signed a settlement agreement with the company totaling $500,000 to help resolve the claims made by five unidentified individuals.

Lisa Bloom, a civil rights attorney who represented four of the five individuals, says she is, “Delighted this day has arrived.”