Linda Evangelista praises women accusing her ex-husband of rape | World news

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Top model Linda Evangelista praised the “courage and strength” of a growing number of women accusing her ex-husband, model agency boss Gerald Marie, of sexual misconduct and rape.Speaking exclusively to Guardian’s Weekend magazine, Evangelista said she believes in women’s accounts of their experiences with Marie, who for more than three decades was among the most powerful figures in the fashion industry.

“During my relationship with Gérald Marie, I knew nothing about these sexual allegations against him, so I could not help these women,” says Evangelista, married to Marie between 1987 and 1993.

“Hearing them now, and based on my own experiences, I believe they are telling the truth. It breaks my heart because these are wounds that might never heal, and I admire their courage and strength to speak out today.

Evangelista is one of the most famous and influential models of all time. Her intervention was prompted by four other models who accused her ex-husband of rape or sexual misconduct in Weekend magazine. They bring to nine the total number of women who publicly accuse Marie of sexual misconduct or rape. Eight of them tell their stories in the magazine’s Saturday issue.

Marie is the former European president of the Elite modeling agency, which at the time represented some of the best models in the world, including Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell. He strongly denies all allegations of sexual misconduct and rape.







Gérald Marie photographed in 2006. Photography: Foc Kan / WireImage

Last month, French prosecutors opened an investigation into Marie into allegations of rape of four women. Among them is Carré Otis, a 90s supermodel, who was 17 when she said Marie raped her repeatedly while living in her apartment’s guest bedroom in 1986.

Evangelista was dating Mary at the time and was not there when the alleged abuse occurred. There is no suggestion from Otis or any of the models that Evangelista was aware of the allegations at the time.

Others who have filed criminal complaints in France include Jill Dodd, who alleges that Marie raped her in 1980; Ebba Karlsson, who alleges Marie digitally raped her in 1990, and former secret reporter Lisa Brinkworth, who told The Sunday Times that the model agency boss assaulted her while she was working on a Modeling industry briefing for the BBC in 1998.

Marie’s lawyers said they were “extremely touched” by the charges against him, which he strongly contests. “He intends to actively participate in the manifestation of the truth within the framework of the open criminal investigation,” they declared.

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Former models Wendy Walsh, Ann Maguire and EJ Moran are among the new accusers speaking for the first time.

Walsh, 58 and host of a popular radio show in America, told The Guardian that Marie raped her in 1980, when he was the boss of French agency Paris Planning. Like all but one of Marie’s accusers, Walsh was allegedly attacked in Paris.

Walsh said she was showing up now “because I believe it’s still a problem for girls in the industry today, and it needs to stop.”

Since Marie and Elite founder John Casablancas were at the helm of the prestigious modeling agency, the firm has been bankrupted and split in two. The two new corporate entities – Creative World Management and Elite World Group – have sought to distance themselves from abuses alleged to have taken place in the past.

More recently, Marie was involved in Oui Management, a prestigious Parisian agency whose models are at the forefront of Louis Vuitton campaigns and the covers of Vogue magazine. The company said Marie is not currently an employee, but documents suggest he remains an investor with “significant control” over the company.

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