Last week, Kate Upton joined the #MeToo movement on Twitter by implying that Guess co-founder Paul Marciano had been gross with her in some capacity (Paul responded by fully denying everything and claiming Kate was a mess on set). Kate didn’t get into specifics at the time; she told TMZ photographers she couldn’t wait to tell her story, but that she needed more time. And now she has.
Kate told TIME that her experience with Paul started after her first campaign photoshoot for Guess Lingerie back in 2010. Kate had just turned 18, Paul was about 57 or 58. Paul had requested to meet with Kate after the shoot, so she and the campaign photographer Yu Tsai went together. Kate alleges that Paul immediately grabbed her boobs and began playing with them. Oh lord, did he also make an old-timey car horn sound while his eyes bugged out of his head like a cartoon wolf? When she pushed him away, he allegedly told her he was just checking to see “if they were real.” Kate claims he kept trying to touch her in various ways, and eventually instructed Yu to leave them alone. Kate says she was able to quickly send Yu a text asking him to stay, which he did. Yu’s presence didn’t stop Paul; Kate alleges he grabbed her neck and tried to kiss her, and that her only defense was to “wiggle away.”
Kate says the meeting ended with Paul offering to walk her to her hotel room. Yu stepped in and said he was going to do it.
A month later Kate had another run-in with Paul. Paul phoned Kate from the lobby of her hotel and asked to come up and see her room. Kate says she declined repeatedly, then turned off her phone and locked her hotel room door. The next day she was informed she had been fired from the shoot, and that someone from Guess had called her agency and told them Kate had gotten “too fat.”
Guess continued to call Kate for jobs. Kate and Yu, realizing that avoiding Paul was going to be a massive challenge, allegedly made a pact that he would look out for her anytime Paul invited himself to set or her hotel. Kate once tried to get Paul to cool it a bit by telling him her boyfriend would be on set for her next shoot. She says he was “furious” about that, and Yu Tsai was fired from the next shoot. Kate’s next photoshoot was with Ellen von Unwerth, who picked up Kate’s vibe about Paul and began looking out for her. Like inviting herself to dinner when Paul propositioned Kate, and said that if she’s not going, then Kate’s not going. When asked for comment, Ellen told TIME she “supported Kate” but “did not recall that particular incident.”
Kate claims that Paul became more hostile with her. Kate says on her last shoot with Guess, in 2011, Paul was blatantly rude to her, spread rumors about her being drunk on set, calling her “disgusting” and telling people to “get that fat pig off my set.”
Kate says that after she hit it big with her first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover in 2012, Guess offered her a $400,000 campaign. She agreed with hesitation. But Paul started texting her that she better not bring her boyfriend to set, and so she cancelled on them a week before the photoshoot. She says the experience made her want to quit modeling for good. She also says that the modeling industry pressures newer models to accept the behavior.
Paul responded to Kate’s story, which he calls “preposterous,” a statement to TIME:
“I have never been alone with Kate Upton. I have never touched her inappropriately. Nor would I ever refer to a Guess model in such a derogatory manner. I fully support the #MeToo movement. At the same time, I will not allow others to defame me and tarnish my reputation. I have pledged to Guess and its Board of Directors my full support and cooperation with a fair and impartial investigation.”
TIME contacted Guess for a comment, but they didn’t have anything to say on the matter.
If Paul really wants to cooperate with Guess on a full investigation, then he might want to have an explanation for why he allegedly wanted to see Kate Upton’s hotel room so badly. And no, I don’t think “I wanted to look at the bedspread and curtains to get inspiration for my gaudy tacky fabric patterns” is going to cut it.