June 13 (UPI) — Guess co-founder Paul Marciano has resigned as chairman of the clothing company’s board after weeks of investigation into sexual harassment accusations against him.
In a filing by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday, Guess said the claims against Marciano include inappropriate comments and text messages and unwanted sexual advances.
An internal company investigation declared 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.”
Marciano, 66, resigned immediately as the board’s executive chairman and will leave the company altogether when his contract expires at the end of January, company officials said. Marciano’s older brother Maurice was named the new executive chairman.
Guess and Marciano have paid out $500,000 to five people to settle accusations. He stepped away from Guess’ daily operations when the investigation began in February.
Guess said Wednesday many of the harassment claims could not be corroborated.
Plaintiffs attorney Lisa Bloom tweeted the iconic clothier has disgraced himself.
“Delighted this day has arrived,” she wrote.
One of Marciano’s accusers, model Kate Upton, said he used his power in the industry to “sexually and emotionally harass women.”
“Paul came straight up to me, forcibly grabbed my breasts and started feeling them — playing with them actually,” Upton told Time magazine in February. “After I pushed him away, he said, ‘I’m making sure they’re real.’”