Kate Upton Discusses Breaking Her Silence On The Sexual Misconduct She Endured In Fashion

On Wednesday, Time published an interview with Kate Upton in which she accused Guess co-founder Paul Marciano of repeated sexual misconduct, starting on the first day of her first professional modeling shoot with the company when she was just 18. Upton claims that Marciano forcibly grabbed her breasts and after she pushed him away, continued fondling her and trying to pull her close to him — allegations which were corroborated by Yu Tsai, the photographer on the shoot.

When Upton later refused to let Marciano up to her hotel room, she says she was fired from the campaign the next morning because she had “gotten fat.” Guess continued to pursue work with her however, and this pattern of behavior continued until her final shoot in May of 2011.

Upton stopped by Good Morning America on Friday morning to open up about her experiences. She says she was first inspired to come forward with her story after working with young models at Fashion Week, who — like she once had been — were excited to break into the field, and how differently she felt about the industry after working with Marciano. “I wanted to prevent that for these other girls who were just starting out,” she told Robin Roberts.

Roberts later asked Upton why she decided to wait until now to come forward with her story:

Well, you know what, it was a completely different world then, when it happened. I was 18-years-old and everybody around me is telling me to — well, they’re not telling me, but they’re pushing me to not tell my story. It’s better to keep things in the dark or just go, because everyone is incentivized by me getting on set. The agents, 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 were fine with this behavior and have really successful careers, so 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, and I think that the women who came out before and after me really prove Paul’s pattern.

Upton first came forward with accusations against Marciano in a January 31 tweet slamming Guess for “still empowering” him as their creative director, adding a #MeToo hashtag:

For his part, Marciano denied Upton’s accusations to Time, slamming them as “absolutely false” and “preposterous.” He claimed that he had never been alone with Upton,” which she herself admitted in that the misconduct always happened in front of others. “I have never touched her inappropriately. Nor would I ever refer to a Guess model in such a derogatory manner,” he said.