Warning: This article contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault.
The latest woman to file such a lawsuit, anonymously identified in her Oct. 2021 complaint as “Jane Doe 3,” accused the Guess co-founder and executive of having allegedly raped her without a condom in February 2013. She spoke exclusively with The Daily Beast late last week.
“My dreams were crushed. My confidence was crushed. I could never model anymore,” she said. “I could do a little bit of art because art is what saved me, [but] I lost confidence in life. I lost confidence in everything after this abuse.” (The Daily Beast has confirmed Doe 3’s identity but generally does not name alleged victims of sexual misconduct without their consent.)
According to her lawsuit, filed last fall in California court, Doe 3 was 20 years old and visiting the U.S. on a tourist visa when she met Marciano at a Beverly Hills hotel under the premise of discussing being cast in future Guess campaigns.
During their meeting, Marciano allegedly asked Doe 3 to “pull her dress up so he could see what kind of body she had,” the complaint said. Believing “this might still be part of the casting,” the woman “pulled her dress up to her stomach so that her underwear was exposed,” the lawsuit continued. “Under the guise of pretending to evaluate her body for potential modeling jobs, Marciano then groped her buttocks without her consent,” she further alleged, before he “moved his hands up to her breasts and said she had ‘beautiful boobs.’”
According to the complaint, Marciano then asked Doe 3 to come into his bedroom—an offer she “politely declined” before the fashion exec allegedly told her, “if you sleep with me, I’m going to give you a billboard in Milan and a lot of campaigns,” name-dropping supermodel Kate Upton as someone he’d discovered. (In 2018, Upton accused Marciano of having forcibly groped her when she was 18 years old.)
Feeling “trapped and scared,” Doe 3 went into the bedroom, where, as the lawsuit recounts in harrowing detail, the Guess mogul allegedly “pushed her face down on the bed, forcefully pulled her dress up, and forcefully pulled down her underwear, and forced himself inside of her. Marciano raped Jane Doe 3 for approximately five minutes. During the rape, Jane Doe 3 froze out of fear and did not say anything. Marciano did not use a condom.”
Neither Guess nor Marciano have publicly responded to Doe 3’s lawsuit, nor did they respond to a request for comment on this story.
In a conversation with The Daily Beast, Doe further recounted how “when I got invited to come to a hotel for a casting to show my modeling portfolio I had no idea of the reputation of the owner of Guess or who he really was or who Paul was.” She further alleged: “He told me he wanted to sleep with me without a condom, and he said, ‘Oh, it’s okay I am married and I just had the baby so it’s okay to sleep with me without a condom. I’m healthy.’ And I’m looking at him and I’m frozen with shock because I don’t know how to react. I froze in fear, in shock. I was coerced.”
According to the lawsuit, following the alleged sexual assault, Doe 3 was booked for two test shoots at Guess headquarters in Los Angeles, and she “was relieved that Marciano was not present at either.” However, following the second shoot, the complaint stated, Doe 3 was informed she was not being selected as a Guess model. She was “never booked for any modeling job, campaign, or billboard,” the lawsuit noted.
“I don’t think he wants to help young models achieve a career,” Doe 3 remarked to The Daily Beast. “It comes from a place of abuse and patriarchal conditioning that you think you can just go on taking the lives of young girls and destroying their lives by doing that.”
Doe 3 said she chose to come forward eight years after her alleged assault because “I have seen this MeToo movement for many, many years happening now and I see how important it is for women to stand up at this time in history, and to end this perpetuation of abuse happening in the industry.”
Seeing multiple other women publicly accuse Marciano of sexual misconduct pushed her to file a lawsuit. “It was really tough for me to come out but, you know, the women who are coming out are giving me a lot of strength to come out to say my truth and be my truth.”
In June 2018, Marciano resigned as CEO after Guess paid $500,000 in settlements to five women accusing him of misconduct. A decade before that, ex-Guess model Lindsey Ring accused Marciano of harassment. Her lawsuit was eventually dismissed, likely due to an out-of-court settlement, The New York Times reported. In early 2021, a former model identified as Jane Doe sued Guess and Marciano, claiming that in February 2020 he forced her to perform oral sex on him. Months later, another former Guess model claimed the mogul harassed her on-set the year prior; and Eileen Toal, an ex-girlfriend of Marciano’s brother, alleged that in 1983 the Guess co-founder sexually assaulted her, when she was 18 years old.
Marciano has denied all allegations against him. Less than a year after stepping down as Guess CEO, and despite an internal probe determining he’d exercised “poor judgment,” the fashion brand reinstated him in January 2019 as a chief creative officer.
The company has continued to stand by its embattled co-founder, despite the mounting misconduct allegations. “It’s because everybody’s so scared to touch somebody so powerful,” Jane Doe 3 declared.
Her attorney, Lisa Bloom, added in a statement: “It’s just really astounding to me that so many women have come forward over so many years, even their insurance company recognizes it in the lawsuit they just filed, and yet Guess continues to stand by him. How many women is it going to take?”
Ultimately, the once-aspiring model expressed hope that by sharing the story of her alleged sexual assault, others may come forward and the fashion mogul will be held accountable.
“I just want Paul Marciano to really take responsibility for his actions, for his bad actions,” she said. “I want him to correct these things. I expect him one day to be a good person and for him to understand what he is doing is causing so much pain and suffering out there for young models, for young people who have dreams.”