Former models Wendy Walsh and Carré Sutton were 17 when they were allegedly raped by Gerald Marie in separate incidents. Jill Dodd was 20 when the same thing allegedly happened to her. Ebba Karlsson was also 20 when Marie is said to have sexually assaulted her. A journalist named Lisa Brinkworth was working undercover as a model for a BBC investigation when, she says, Marie sexually abused her in a nightclub. Though these incidents took place in the 1980s and 1990s, formal complaints were lodged only in September with the Tribunal Judiciaire in Paris. On November 21, seven other women spoke up about Marie, formally ripping the veil off sexual predation and abuse in the modelling industry. The scandal is being known as fashion’s #MeToo moment and drawing parallels between Marie and disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Who is Gerald Marie?
Gerald Marie, 70, is considered one of the most powerful men in international fashion. For 25 years, he was the European President of the prestigious Elite Model Management, which is headquartered in Paris and has represented supermodels such as Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen, Claudia Schiffer and Cindy Crawford. Marie was one of the heads of the company with its founder, the New York-based John Casablancas. Born in the family of a hospital administrator, Marie worked as a dancer on television before becoming one of the best-connected agents in Europe who could, it was said, make or mar a model’s career with a phone call. Marie was married to supermodel Linda Evangelista between 1987 and 1993.
Where is he now?
Marie is a part of another leading Paris agency, called Oui Management, which handles a number of top models. Elite Model Management went bankrupt in 2004 and split into two companies — Creative World Management and Elite World Group. Both want to distance themselves from the history of sexual abuses. Marie lives in Spain now. He has told Sunday Times, “It would not be appropriate for me to comment at this time on the allegations of historic wrongdoing being made against me, other than to make it clear that I categorically deny them.” He has not commented on the fresh allegations made in November.
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How did the allegations come to light?
For all these decades, the sexual violence of Marie was the stuff of rumours. Several models have told newspapers such as The Guardian that his predatory practices were an open secret. The memories of sexual exploitation are scarring and traumatic, especially since the women were very young at the time. Dodd, for instance, has said in her complaint that the incidents caused her PTSD and she finds it difficult to trust men. “I was very frightened and full of shame … I didn’t talk about it for years and years,” she says. 📣 Follow Express Explained on Telegram