News & Opinion | October 19, 2020 6:00 am

Former Elite Model Management President Gérald Marie Accused of Rape by Multiple Women

An investigation turns up evidence of grotesque behavior

Gérald Marie
Gérald Marie in 2004.
LIU JIN/AFP via Getty Images

Learning about a powerful man using his position in order to abuse and sexually assault women with impunity is never easy. The #MeToo movement and the high-profile trial of Harvey Weinstein have both taken steps to make men who had previously seemed able to dodge the consequences of their actions more culpable for what they had done. And now, in Europe, another prominent figure stands accused of horrific deeds, with both law enforcement and journalists exploring his past.

In this case, the spotlight is on Gérald Marie, who was president of Elite Model Management for many years. (He is no longer affiliated with the company, but continues to work in the industry.) At The Guardian, Lucy Osborne investigated Marie’s past actions, and the results make for a horrifying case study in abuses of power. The article notes that 8 women have accused Marie of sexually abusing them between 1980 and 1996, including several former models; for 4 of them, this is the first time their stories have come to light.

Three of the former models who spoke to The Guardian have also been working with French law enforcement as part of a case against Marie. Marie had previously been the target of a 1999 BBC investigation, which reportedly recorded him admitting to a host of ruinous behavior on camera — but a legal action from Elite kept the film from reaching an audience.

The Guardian‘s report is not an easy read, but it is a comprehensive one — and it’s a harrowing reminder of the ways that toxic behavior within certain industries can be enabled for far too long.

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