France Investigates Rape Claims Against Elite Models Agency Former Boss

Lisa Brinkworth was at the time undercover as a model in the fashion industry for an investigation into “inappropriate sexual behaviour by certain modelling agents”, as part of a documentary for the BBC.

France Investigates Sex Assault Claims Against Elite Models Agency Former Boss - SurgeZirc France
Gérald Marie, here in Paris in September 2009 during the final of the Elite Model Look competition, is the target of an investigation, notably for rape of minors / Photo credit: HuffPost France

French prosecutors have opened an investigation against Gérald Marie, former director of Europe of the Elite Model Agency, after the complaint of a former BBC journalist and three reports of old models, according to AFP on Monday, September 28 from the Paris prosecutor’s office.

Currently, at the head of Oui management, Gérald Marie was the historical boss of Elite Model Agency, the main modelling agency in the world, created in 1971 in Paris by John Casablancas and Alain Kittler. She is famous all over the world for having employed big names on the catwalks such as Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford but also Linda Evangelista, once the wife of Gerald Marie.

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The investigation was opened Monday for “rape and sexual assault as well as rape and sexual assault on a minor” and entrusted to the Brigade for the protection of minors, the same source added.

In this complaint and these reports revealed by 20 minutes and of which AFP was aware, the women evoke facts which would have occurred between 1980 and 1998 and which could be prescribed.

Former BBC journalist Lisa Brinkworth thus asserts that on the night of October 5 to 6, 1998, Gerald Marie, whom she followed to a Milan club, “straddled her while she was sitting on a chair. ”And“ started pushing his cock in her lower abdomen ”.

Lisa Brinkworth was at the time undercover as a model in the fashion industry for an investigation into “inappropriate sexual behaviour by certain modelling agents”, as part of a documentary for the BBC.

Following its scandalous broadcast, Elite Model Agency announced the resignation of two leaders involved, including Gérald Marie, then reinstated them a few days later by filing a libel complaint against the BBC and the program’s star journalist, Donal MacIntyre.

Interviewed during the scandal in 1999 in the program “Tout le monde en parle” by Thierry Ardisson, Gérald Marie had swept away a “non-business”.

These facts seem prescribed, but Me Anne-Claire Lejeune, the lawyer of the former journalist, recalled the existence of an agreement concluded at the time between the BBC and Elite Model Agency, following the defamation complaint, in under which Lisa Brinkworth would have forbidden herself to talk about her assault. This “must allow the suspension of the limitation period”, argued Me Lejeune to AFP.

“We had extensive discussions with (Me Lejeune) to determine how to make the show’s rushes available. We have always maintained that the BBC will cooperate fully with any criminal investigation, ”British television told AFP.

Three reports of ex-models

“I can only welcome this decision which, in view of the elements provided by the various victims, was necessary”, responded to AFP lawyer Lisa Brinkworth, Me Anne-Claire Lejeune. “This survey will, I hope, give others the courage to speak out. It is an encouraging first step and a relief for the victims ”, added Me, Lejeune.

In addition to Lisa Brinkworth, three ex-models, including a minor at the time of the alleged facts, accuse Gerald Marie of “rape” in Paris in reports.

The American Carre Sutton denounces “countless” rapes in 1986 when she was 17 years old. His compatriot Jill Dodd evokes a rape which would have occurred in 1980, at his 20 years. The Swedish Ebba Karlsson denounces it a rape which would have occurred while she was the same age, in 1990. These last facts are prescribed.

AFP tried unsuccessfully to contact Gérald Marie’s lawyer. On Saturday, the latter “categorically denied” to the Sunday Times the accusations.

The fashion world in France already splashed by the Epstein affair

Justice no longer hesitates to launch investigations on apparently prescribed facts, so that there are “no forgotten victims” explained in February the Paris prosecutor, Rémy Heitz, after a call for witnesses concerning the writer Gabriel Matzneff, claimed paedophile.

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The fashion world in France has already been splashed in 2019 by the American investigation targeting the financier Jeffrey Epstein, who died in July 2019 when he was accused of sexual abuse of dozens of minors. An investigation was opened in France and a call for witnesses launched.

At the heart of this case is the French Jean-Luc Brunel, founder of the modelling agencies Karin Models and MC2 Model Management, accused of “rape” and “sexual assault” and more generally of having “turned down” for Jeffrey Epstein to the United States young girls from modest backgrounds by dangling a career as a model. He said he was “at the disposal of justice”.

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