Guess Founder Paul Marciano Allegedly Used Anna Nicole Smith Photo to Entice Women

Paul Marciano, the embattled co-founder of fashion brand Guess, reportedly displayed a photo of himself with Anna Nicole Smith prominently in his office to lure models into falling for his assurances of stardom.

According to sources for The Blast, Marciano prominently had the photo on display in his office at the brand's Los Angeles headquarters. He would frequently point to the photo of the late Smith. The photo was taken during the early ’90s, when Smith appeared in Guess campaigns. It shows her playfully putting her hand in Marciano's back pocket.

Marciano would use the photo to show potential models that he had a knack for turning models into superstars. One woman who accused Marciano of sexual misconduct told The Blast that Marciano specifically pointed out Smith had her hand on his backside in the photo to show he was harmless.

On Jan. 31, supermodel Kate Upton accused the 66-year-old Marcianao of sexual misconduct on Twitter. "It’s disappointing that such an iconic women’s brand [GUESS] is still empowering Paul Marciano as their creative director," she wrote, including the hashtag, "Me Too."

Upton also posted the tweet on Instagram, where she added, "He shouldn’t be allowed to use his power in the industry to sexually and emotionally harass women."

Upton later detailed the allegations in an interview with TIME.

"After the first day of shooting the Guess Lingerie campaign [on July 25, 2010], Paul Marciano said he wanted to meet with me," Upton recalled. "As soon as I walked in with photographer Yu Tsai, Paul came straight up to me, forcibly grabbed my breasts and started feeling them — playing with them actually. After I pushed him away, he said, 'I’m making sure they’re real.'"

She accused Marciano of continuing to touch her, even though she tried to avoid him.

"At one point he forcibly grabbed the back of my head so that I could not move and started kissing my face and my neck," Upton said. "I remember not wanting to say “Get off of me” because I didn’t want to open my mouth to say anything because I didn’t want him to be able to put his tongue in my mouth. I had two options: do everything I could to wiggle away and avoid his pursuit, or punch the CEO of Guess. So I decided to just wiggle away."

According to The Blast, Lindsey Ring has also filed a lawsuit, accusing Marciano of groping her during fittings. Like Upton, Angie Christina claims Marciano touched her breasts after saying he wanted to make sure they "were real." Two other women who wished to remain anonymous came forward to The Blast. The site also says it plans to publish two more allegations. Kristina Shannon, a former Playboy Playmate, also accused Marciano misconduct.

Marciano denied Upton's story in a statement to Time. He called it "absolutely false," but photographer Yu Tsai corroborated Upton's harassment.

"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," Marciano told Time.

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Guess has hired a law firm to investigate the allegations.

Photo credit: Facebook/ Guess