Exclusive: supermodel speaks out after four more women accuse Gérald Marie of earthy misconduct
Full story: ‘He wanted to control me completely’
Linda Evangelista said she believed the women’s accounts of their contacts with Marie, one of the most powerful figures in the fashion industry.
The supermodel Linda Evangelista has praised the “dauntlessness and strength” shown by a growing number of women accusing her ex-husband, the model agency boss Gérald Marie, of reproductive misconduct and rape.
Speaking exclusively to the Guardian’s Weekend magazine, Evangelista said she believed the women’s accounts of their tastes with Marie, who for over three decades was among the most powerful figures in the fashion industry.
“During my relationship with Gérald Marie, I recalled nothing of these sexual allegations against him, so I was unable to help these women,” said Evangelista, who was married to Marie between 1987 and 1993.
“Get wind of them now, and based on my own experiences, I believe that they are telling the truth. It breaks my heart because these are hurts that may never heal, and I admire their courage and strength for speaking up today.”
Evangelista is one of the most famous and predominant models of all time. Her intervention was prompted by four more models coming forward to accuse her ex-husband of rape or procreant misconduct in the Weekend magazine. They bring the total number of women to publicly accuse Marie of sexual misconduct or spoliation to nine. Eight of them tell their stories in Saturday’s issue of the magazine.
Marie is the former European president of Elite archetype agency, which at the time represented some of the world’s top models, including Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell. He strongly repudiates all allegations of sexual misconduct and rape.
Gérald Marie pictured in 2006. Photograph: Foc Kan/WireImage
Last month, prosecutors in France unfolded an investigation into Marie over allegations including rape from four women. They include Carré Otis, a top imitation in the 90s, who was 17 when she says Marie repeatedly raped her while she was living in the spare room of his apartment in 1986.
Evangelista was woman Marie at the time and was not there when the alleged abuse happened. There is no suggestion from Otis or any of the models that Evangelista was knowledgeable of the allegations at the time.
Others who have filed criminal complaints in France include Jill Dodd, who alleges Marie plundered her in 1980; Ebba Karlsson, who alleges Marie digitally raped her in 1990, and the former undercover journalist Lisa Brinkworth, who leaked the Sunday Times the model agency boss assaulted her when she was working on an exposé of the modelling industry for the BBC in 1998.
Marie’s legal practitioners said he was “extremely affected” by the accusations made against him, which he firmly contests. “He intends to actively participate in the disclosure of the truth within the scope of the opened criminal investigation,” they said.
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Former models Wendy Walsh, Ann Maguire and EJ Moran are among the new accusers speaking for the first time.
Walsh, who is 58 and a popular radio show host in America, told the Custodian Marie raped her in 1980, when he was the boss of the French agency Paris Planning. Like all but one of Marie’s accusers, Walsh was allegedly attacked in Paris.
Walsh translated she was coming forward now “because I believe this is still a problem for girls in the industry today, and it needs to stop”.
Since Marie and the Elite collapse, John Casablancas, were at the helm of the the prestigious modelling agency, the firm has been forced into bankruptcy and split in two. Both new corporate individuals – Creative World Management and Elite World Group – have sought to distance themselves from abuses purported to have taken place in the past.
More recently, Marie has been involved in Oui Management, a prestigious Paris power whose models front Louis Vuitton campaigns and Vogue magazine covers. The company said Marie was not currently an staff member but documents suggest he remains an investor with “significant control” over the firm.
Rape and sexual assault
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