Kate Upton Says She Was "Pushed" to Keep Paul Marciano Story Quiet

"I was going back and forth about sharing this story, because it's always easier to leave things in the past," the former GUESS model says on Good Morning America

By Zach Johnson Feb 09, 2018 4:50 PMTags
Kate Upton, Good Morning AmericaABC

UPDATEKate Upton continues to speak out against GUESS and Paul Marciano, taking to Twitter on Feb. 28 with her thoughts on the company's investigation. 

She wrote, "I just learned that Guess hired Paul Marciano's PERSONAL lawyer to run their internal "investigation." I'm truly disheartened to learn that Guess is treating this abuse of power and sexual misconduct (to multiple women) in such a manner." 

Read Upton's entire statement by scrolling below: 


Kate Upton's crusade against Paul Marciano is far from over.

After first accusing the GUESS founder of sexual harassment via social media, then in an interview with TIME, the 25-year-old supermodel was interviewed on ABC's Good Morning America Friday. During a lingerie shoot when she was 18 years old, Upton claimed Marciano grabbed her breasts. "After I pushed him away he said, I'm making sure they're real," she previously told TIME, alleging that he responded by grabbing the back of her head so she could not move, then began kissing her face and neck. Upton claimed she was harassed and insulted in subsequent shoots, and claimed he once called her a "fat pig." A photographer who worked with Upton a few of the shoots, Yu Tsai, corroborated her claims to both ABC News and TIME.

Marciano, meanwhile, has denied all of Upton's claims, calling them "preposterous." He also maintained that he never "touched her inappropriately." Although Marciano said he supports the #MeToo Movement, and has told GUESS' board of directors that he is in favor of an impartial investigation, he also will not allow Upton "to defame me and tarnish my reputation."

Speaking to Robert Roberts Friday, Upton said, "I'm doing good. I'm actually really excited about sharing my movement. As soon as I did my article with TIME I felt a sense of relief, because it's a new climate. Women are coming together and you're able to have this platform to share your story and create real change for other women, for this industry—for the better."

Kate Upton: Fashion Model

Initially, Upton said, "I was going back and forth about sharing this story, because it's always easier to leave things in the past. But actually, what gave me the push to do it is I did a workout with a lot of new models for Fashion Week—since it was their first Fashion Week—and a lot of girls were sharing how excited they were about the different opportunities they got [at] the start of their careers. And I remembered being in that place whenever I got the [invitation] to go meet with Paul Marciano, and how different my view of the industry after that meeting was. And I wanted to prevent that from happening for these other girls who are just starting out."

The harassment she allegedly suffered on set "had a huge emotional impact," Upton said, "because it made me question what I was doing, what I was, how I was putting myself out there to be treated in this way. I'm thinking, 'I walked into a professional meeting and I thought I was carrying myself in a professional way. How did this treatment happen to me?' You start blaming yourself and you try to change yourself. I started slumping my shoulders, wearing baggier clothes. And I had to go through this moment where I was like, 'That's not my fault. That's his fault. That is his way of acting.' I had to empower myself again. Upton agreed with Marciano's assertion that they were never alone together, on- or off-set, telling Roberts, "I made sure of it." Upton insisted he harassed her during a meeting with Tsai present. "After that, I had to come up with a lot of different strategies to ensure I wasn't in the same room with him alone."


Marciano has flat-out denied Upton's claims, calling them "absolutely false." She's not surprised by his response. "Honestly, I don't really need his validation for what happened, so I'm not looking for him to come forward and tell the truth," she said. "I expected him to do that. I think it speaks to how he's treated these allegations in the past. And it used to work before, but that's not the case anymore. And we're being heard and our stories are taken seriously. And I think that that speaks to the culture change that needs to happen within corporate offices."

Upton added that she would happily cooperate in an independent investigation, if she's asked to participate. "I think it's really important, and honestly, I think that it would be so nice to see big corporations and businesses doing this on their own, having investigations and looking into their offices on their own without victims needing to come forward. Because we already know there is a huge imbalance of power within businesses. I think it's really important for employees and for everyone to be educated on exactly what sexual harassment is and what consent means so that everyone feels safe inside their professional setting and everyone feels confident in how they're treating each other—men and women." Upton said GUESS has not reached out to her since she first spoke out against Marciano. Even so, she said, "I have no need to speak to them."

Upton claimed people were "pushing" her to stay quiet. "It's better to keep things in the dark...because everyone is incentivized by me getting on set." As she explained, "Everybody gets paid if I show up on set. So, you're constantly pushed to show up on set no matter what happens, and they're bringing up examples of other women who are fine with this behavior and have really successful careers, you're subtly being pushed to be there. And then you're also having doubt in your mind of how I acted. 'Did I ask for this treatment?' But you didn't. This is their behavior. I think that the women who came out before and after me really prove that."

Sharing her story has been "hard to do," Upton added. "It is hard to admit that that happened."