High profile attorney Lisa Bloom is representing "several men" who she says have come forward with assault allegations against fashion designer Alexander Wang.
Bloom, the daughter of famed lawyer Gloria Allred whose career accomplishments include representing women whose sexual harassment claims led to the firing of Bill O'Reilly from Fox News, says she's "proud" to "represent several men with allegations against Alexander Wang," in a statement shared with PEOPLE. The sexual misconduct allegations started to spread on social media last week.
"The fashion industry is long overdue for a reckoning of its frequent, disturbing mistreatment of models. I’ve represented many alleging sexual misconduct in recent years," Bloom said. "Models are not props, and they have the same rights to workplace respect as everyone else. I thank everyone who has reached out in support, and I’m happy to speak for free and confidentially to any others, including witnesses."
In a TikTok video, model Owen Mooney came forward describing an encounter meeting Wang in a crowded New York City club in 2017, where Mooney claims he was groped by the designer in the genital area. The viral video sparked others to share mostly anonymous stories with industry watchdog Instagram accounts, @s—tmodelmgmt and @DietPrada began sharing accounts, alleging sexual misconduct by the designer.
Wang denied all allegations in a statement shared with PEOPLE from his representatives. "Over the last few days, I have been on the receiving end of baseless and grotesquely false accusations. These claims have been wrongfully amplified by social media accounts infamous for posting defamatory material from undisclosed and/or anonymous sources with zero evidence or any fact checking whatsoever," Wang said in the statement.
"Seeing these lies about me being perpetuated as truths has been infuriating," Wang continued. "I have never engaged in the atrocious behavior described and would never conduct myself in the manner that’s been alleged. I intend to get to the bottom of this and hold accountable whoever is responsible for originating these claims and viciously spreading them online."
Since Mooney came forward, other alleged victims anonymously told outlets like DailyMail.com and Business of Fashion about their own experiences with Wang. Trans model Gia Garrison spoke to The Guardian about encountering Wang at a Feb. 2017 party where he allegedly attempted to expose her genitals.
RELATED: Alexander Wang Responds to Sexual Assault Allegations: 'Grotesquely False'
“It was just another night and then I remember being introduced to Alexander Wang and then chatting to him. I just remember dancing around and he was chilling with his posse and then reached for my bikini bottoms I was wearing and tried to tug them downwards," Garrison told The Guardian.
“I said: ‘What are you doing, what the fuck,’ and stepped away. I didn’t make much of it in the moment because I was just in club mode and tried to let things brush off my shoulder and not ruin my night," she continued. "I’ve done many shoots where they’ve wanted to put me in his clothing since and I’ve just said no.”
On Monday morning, Wang maintained his innocence in a memo sent out to the Alexander Wang New York staff. "I wanted to take the time to write to you all and thank each and every one of you who have been standing by me and the brand after the difficult past few days," the fashion designer began the note, which was obtained by PEOPLE.
"You are my community, my priority and I am fully aware that the recent news has also affected you. I remain committed to you and the brand and will do everything in my power to guide us through this process with the utmost transparency. Firstly, I’d like to take the opportunity to connect directly with the people who have helped me grow this brand into what it is today and address the recent false, fabricated and mostly anonymous accusations against me. While I have always been active in my social life, frequently attending various industry gatherings, parties and concerts where drugs and alcohol were present – but contrary to what has been said, I have never taken advantage of others in a sexual manner or forced anything on anyone without consent," Wang said.
"I also have never abused my status or fame for my own benefit. These baseless allegations were started on social media by sites which repeatedly disregarded the value and importance of evidence or fact checking. It's my priority to prove these accusations are untrue and are fueled by solely opportunistic motives. It is important for people to speak up about and be heard but there is a need to ensure accusations are credible, so that we don’t harm these important causes," he continued.
RELATED: Fashion Designer Alexander Wang Accused of Sexual Assault
Wang ended his memo by saying: "Our team is doing everything in its power to investigate these claims and we promise to remain honest and transparent throughout that process. We are fortunate to have received an overwhelming amount of support over the last few days and are thankful to our staff, clients and industry peers for standing by our side at this time.”
A similar statement was shared by Wang on the fashion label's social media channels later in the day.
Some of Wang's close friends and colleagues have spoken out to support the designer amid the assault allegations.
"Alex and I have known each other for almost fifteen years. We have collaborated closely on many projects over the years. He always treats models as human beings, and celebrates who they are as people," said Elite Model Management Heather Hughes. "His hard work has led to much success, yet he remains one of the kindest people in our business."
Model Anna Ewers, who has considered Wang a "dear friend for nearly a decade" says she always know him as "respectful, professional and compassionate."
"Obviously, I can only speak for myself but my experiences with Alex on both a personal and professional level have been nothing short of positive," Ewers said.
Last Tuesday, The Model Alliance, which works to “promote fair treatment, equal opportunity and sustainable practices in the fashion industry,” announced that it "stands in solidarity with those who have shared accusations of sexual abuse by Alexander Wang." The statement, which was first reported by WWD, reads: "Let's be clear: The fashion industry's lack of transparency and accountability leaves all models vulnerable to abuse, regardless of their sex or gender identity."
The Alliance encourages anyone in need of support or help filing formal complaints to email [email protected]
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.
Source: Read Full Article