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Guess co-founder Paul Marciano has resigned from the company after sexual misconduct allegations, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing by the company Tuesday.
The company filed an 8-K form with the SEC, a requirement to announce major news to shareholders. The form not only confirmed Marciano stepped down, but also detailed the allegations against him. The company had announced in February it would be conducting an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, including “inappropriate texts and comments, and unwanted advances including kissing and groping.”
He will leave the company next year, according to the SEC document.
The investigation was presented to the company’s board on June 7 and 11, and Marciano announced his resignation to the board Monday.
Among those who accused Marciano of improper conduct was supermodel Kate Upton, who told “Good Morning America” in February she came forward because she “wanted to prevent that from happening to other girls.” Upton also reiterated allegations to “GMA” that Marciano fondled her breasts during her first photo shoot for the brand in 2010 when she was 18 and continued to behave inappropriately toward her in professional settings for a few months after.
Marciano has denied all the allegations and has not admitted any wrongdoing, saying in a statement after Upton’s allegations that they were “preposterous.”
“I have never been alone with Kate Upton,” he said. “I have never touched her inappropriately.”
Marciano said he would cooperate with the investigation, which the company said on Tuesday “interviewed more than 40 people and reviewed approximately 1.5 million pages of documents, including emails, human resources and legal department files, social media messages, video and audio recordings, photographs, travel itineraries, calendar entries, agreements, invoices and financial records.”
According to the filing, “many of the allegations could not be corroborated” or no conclusion could be reached because accusers did not want to be interviewed or both sides provided credible evidence. However, the investigation did find evidence of impropriety by Marciano.
“The investigation found that on certain occasions Mr. 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 filing says.
The filing says Marciano and Guess “entered a non-confidential settlement” to avoid lawsuits.
“To avoid the cost of litigation and without admitting liability or fault, the Company and Mr. Paul Marciano entered into non-confidential settlement agreements resolving claims of five individuals arising out of allegations of inappropriate conduct by Mr. Paul Marciano for an aggregate total amount of $500,000,” according to the filing.
Guess, Inc., was founded in 1981 by brothers Paul Marciano, Georges Marciano and Maurice Marciano. The brand’s jeans exploded in popularity in the 1980s, and its ads featured big-time supermodels such as Claudia Schiffer and Eva Herzigova.