Sunday, September 26

‘What he was doing was in plain sight’: more ex-models accuse Gérald Marie of sexual assault | fashion

Seven more women have come forward to accuse former modeling agency chief Gérald Marie of sexual misconduct, adding to mounting allegations that have drawn parallels to disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Last month, a Guardian investigation revealed that nine women had made sexual misconduct allegations against Marie, who for three decades was one of the most powerful men in the fashion industry.

All of those accusations, which ranged from sexual harassment to rape, were firmly denied by Marie, who is now 70 years old and lives in Spain.

Now, seven more women have come forward to The Guardian to share new accounts of Marie’s misconduct. One is Laurie Marsden, a former model who works as a psychotherapist in Brisbane, Australia. She said that Marie sexually assaulted her in Paris when she was 19 years old.

Marsden worked for Paris Planning, an agency Marie ran until 1986, when she merged with Elite. Marie later became the European president of Elite, one of the world’s leading modeling agencies, which in the 1990s represented various supermodels, including Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford.

Marsden said she was at a house party in 1982 when Marie said she would make her a star. Later, he waited for her outside a bathroom, and when she came out, she alleges that he pushed her onto a bed in a neighboring room.

“His entire body weight was on me and he was holding me down,” he said. “He was touching me all over my body.”

As she hiked up her skirt, she said she told him to stop and said “no,” but he ignored her pleas. Marsden said she was only able to escape what she describes as an attempted rape by turning her body and using her feet to get out of bed.

Laurie Marsden.

Laurie Marsden. Photograph: Image provided by Laurie Marsden

The following Monday, according to Marsden, Marie canceled her three scheduled jobs with Elle magazine. She believes she was punished for resisting the sexual assault the week before.

Another former top model, Lesa Amoore, alleged that Marie assaulted and sexually harassed her multiple times over a three-year period when she was working for Elite in the early 1990s. On one occasion outside a club or restaurant in Paris, Amoore alleged that she was He pushed against a wall and grabbed her wrists. She had to “knee him” in the groin to escape, he said.

On another occasion, at his apartment, Amoore said that Marie tried to kiss her and put her hand on his pants, but was able to push him away. Despite repeatedly making it clear that she was not interested in him, Amoore said that Marie would show up at her apartment late at night and demand that she let him in, which she refused.

“Anyone who was around for a while saw that Gerald was chasing models. I mean, I would do it in front of other people, ”Amoore said. “Models shared warnings, while bookers like mine tried to help us stay away.”

Lesa Amoore.

Lesa Amoore. Photograph: Allison Zaucha / For The Guardian

Emily Mott, a former model from New York, alleges that Marie sexually assaulted her, in 1985 or 1986, after she was asked to help her then-girlfriend, supermodel Linda Evangelista, move into their apartment. Mott said that when Evangelista was in another room, Marie “forced himself and tried to kiss me and throw me on a bed.” Mott, a varsity T-shirt, said she was “grateful” to have “the strength to push him.”

Emily Mott modeling in 1985.

Emily Mott modeling in 1985. Photograph: Provided by Emily Mott

There is no indication that Evangelista, who later married Marie between 1987 and 1993, was aware of this incident or of any other allegations against her ex-husband until they were recently made public.

Evangelista told The Guardian last month that she believed in women accusing her ex-husband, adding: “It breaks my heart because these are wounds that may never heal, and I admire their courage and strength.”

Criminal case and denials

Marie did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the allegations from her new accusers. She has vigorously denied the previous series of allegations, said to have taken place between 1980 and 1998, and included six allegations of rape, including that of a model who was 15 years old at the time.

Marie’s lawyers previously said he was “extremely affected” by the allegations, which he strongly rejects. They said she would fight a French criminal case that was opened in September after prosecutors received complaints from four women: “She intends to actively participate in the manifestation of the truth within the scope of the open criminal investigation.”

However, there is a growing sense that Marie’s case is shedding an unsettling light on a fashionable era where abuse was tolerated and even permitted by some in the industry. “Men like Gérald Marie don’t exist in a vacuum,” said former British model Catherine Donaldson. “What he was doing was in plain sight.”

Gérald Marie during the Elite Model Look 2006 ceremony at the Ritz in Paris.

Gérald Marie during the Elite Model Look 2006 ceremony at the Ritz in Paris. Photography: Foc Kan / WireImage

Donaldson said his experience with Marie was the basis for Couch, a short film he recently made. She alleges that Marie sexually assaulted her on a couch in her apartment before an agency dinner in 1985, when she was 19 years old. She also alleges that Marie aggressively grabbed her and tried to force her, but was able to push him.

Then at dinner she said that he told her she was fat and insisted that she come back to the office every day until she lost weight. For two weeks, Marie weighed her at “any given opportunity,” she said. “It was a public humiliation.”

Donaldson recalled telling his London agent, Ziggi Golding, at the time about what had happened to Marie. Golding confirmed that conversation with The Guardian. He said he chose not to affiliate his agency, Z, with Paris Planning because Marie’s reputation as a predator was “well known.”

Serene Cicora, 57, another agent from the 1980s and 1990s, also recalled “a definite pattern” in the stories she was told about Marie, adding that “dozens of models told me about her predatory behavior.”

Cicora said the sheer number of accusers, combined with what many of them say about how Marie abused her power to coerce victims, threatening their careers if they rejected sex, suggests that he could be “the Harvey Weinstein of the industry. of fashion “.

Growing accusations

In addition to allegations of sexual assault and rape, three other models told The Guardian that Marie sexually harassed them while they were employed by him. Former British model Karen Howarth said Marie tried to get her to sleep with him in her apartment before an agency dinner in the spring of 1985. When she turned him down, he said he called her “frigid” in front of her colleagues and days later , she was told that she would no longer represent her directly.

Another former model, Jennifer Curran Peres, who is American, related that she shared a limousine with Marie and others after an industry party. When they reached her stop, she recalled that he demanded that she come to his apartment with him, which she repeatedly refused to do. Peres alleged that Marie attempted to physically remove her from the vehicle by grabbing her arm. She said she stopped only when another passenger took Marie’s hand away.

A third former model, who is Canadian and wishes to remain anonymous, said that while in St. Tropez in 1986 for a shoot with Elle magazine, she was pressured to sleep in the same hotel room as Marie. After she refused, the session was canceled.

After Marie and Elite founder John Casablancas ran the prestigious modeling agency, the company went bankrupt and split in two. Both new corporate entities, Creative World Management and Elite World Group, have sought to distance themselves from alleged past abuses.

Most recently, Marie has been involved with Oui Management, a prestigious Paris agency whose models headline Louis Vuitton campaigns and appear on the covers of Vogue magazines. The company said Marie was not currently an employee, but the documents suggest that she remains an investor with “significant control.”

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