The model explains she is not going to let Guess co-founder Paul Marciano “intimidate me anymore.”
Upton goes back to the day it started, July 25, 2010, when she met with the clothing brand to become their new Guess Lingerie campaign model: “As soon as I walked in with photographer Yu Tsai, Paul came straight up to me, forcibly 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.’”
She continued, “Despite doing everything I could physically do to avoid his touch throughout the meeting, 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. He then told Yu Tsai to leave us alone. I was able to send a quick text to Yu Tsai asking him to stay. He did, but that did not stop Paul’s constant grabbing. I was extremely shaken, surprised and scared.”
But the incident didn’t end there, “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,” Upton recalled. “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. I had two options: do everything I could to wiggle away and avoid his pursuit, or punch the CEO of Guess. So I decided to just wiggle away.”
Upton says she is thankful for her friend/photographer Yu Tsai, “Then Paul insisted that he walk me up to my hotel room. I immediately declined. The only thing I was thinking is if he touches me like that in public, I can’t imagine what he’d try to do in private. Thankfully, Yu Tsai stepped in and insisted he’d do it. I was so relieved and felt like I had barely escaped.”
“The next day, I learned that I had been fired from the shoot,” Upton said. “Someone had called my agency to say I had gotten fat and would not be needed on set [that day]. I was devastated.”
Marciano released a statement to TMZ denying any sexual misconduct.
“As of today, Ms. Upton still has provided no facts, no details, no dates and no circumstances to back up anything she has alleged,” Marciano said. “I am told she has been working with others for some time to defame me and will claim that I groped her among other things.”
The statement continued: “This allegation is false. I have never touched Kate Upton. I have never been alone with Kate Upton. I have never acted inappropriately towards her.”
“I have devoted my entire career to building a fashion company and brand that have a long and proud record of empowering women,” Marciano added. “I full support the #metoo movement. At the same time, I will not stand by and watch my reputation be tarnished. I have pledged to the Guess Board of Directors that I will fully cooperate with a fair and impartial investigation into all of the facts.”
Read Upton’s full statement to Time here.