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1 Jan, 2021 20:54

Fashion designer Alexander Wang rejects sexual assault allegations as male models take up #MeToo mantle

Fashion designer Alexander Wang rejects sexual assault allegations as male models take up #MeToo mantle

After several young men went public with claims they were sexually assaulted, even drugged, by the American couture prodigy, Wang has denied the accusations. Some, however, insist his behavior was an “open secret” in the industry.

The 37-year-old designer denounced the allegations as “grotesquely false” in a statement on Thursday, several days after men began coming forward with their stories of being preyed upon by Wang. Accusing the men of spreading lies, the designer insisted he had “never engaged in the atrocious behavior described.

I intend to get to the bottom of this and hold accountable whoever is responsible for originating these claims and viciously spreading them online,” Wang continued in a statement to People magazine on Thursday, insisting the allegations were the product of “social media accounts infamous for posting defamatory material from undisclosed and/or anonymous sources with zero evidence.

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British model Owen Mooney posted a TikTok video on Wednesday alleging the designer had groped his crotch at a Manhattan nightclub in 2017, causing him to “freeze completely because I was in so much shock.” That shock, Mooney said, was only magnified when he realized whose hand was fondling him.

Any time I see [Wang’s] name mentioned or see him with celebrity best friends, it just reminds me of what he did, and it’s a really f**ked-up memory to have,” the model explained.

Mooney is far from alone in being victimized by the popular designer, if the stories that have surfaced in the last few days are any indication. Transgender model Gia Garison accused Wang of trying to pull down her panties while she was dancing at the same party where Mooney was allegedly groped. Garison said she has repeatedly refused to wear Alexander Wang clothing in subsequent fashion shoots due to the incident.

Another model, “Nick,” who declined to reveal his last name shared that after going clubbing with Wang in 2017, he emerged from a blackout to find Wang performing sexual acts on him – twice. “I honestly feel so embarrassed and manipulated,” the man, who subsequently remained in contact with Wang, told the Daily Mail. 

The whole #MeToo movement has been more around women and people don't realize this can also happen to men, I being one of them,” the 25-year-old said, adding that he misunderstood Wang’s “aggressive” behavior and had even been warned by a former boyfriend of the designer – whom he wrote off as jealous at the time.

I think it's a big wake up call to gay men.

While Nick does not believe his drinks were spiked with MDMA, he insisted he had never blacked out before or since, and several other men have accused Wang of drugging them en route to various afterparties by slipping the substance into bottles of water he then encouraged them to drink.

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Model Alliance, a fashion advocacy group, released a statement on Instagram earlier this week underlining its “solidarity with those who have shared accusations of sexual abuse by Alexander Wang.” The organization emphasized that the #MeToo movement should not be limited to female victims, noting that “the fashion industry’s lack of transparency and accountability leaves all models vulnerable to abuse, regardless of their sex or gender identity.” Another fashion watchdog group, Diet Prada, claimed rumors about Wang’s predatory behavior had been an open secret in the modeling world for months if not years.

Facing massive backlash, Wang has disabled comments on his Instagram account. However, he is no stranger to controversy, having been raked over the coals in 2017 for casting R&B singer (and sexual predator) R. Kelly in one of his runway shows. Others, including rapper Azealia Banks, have attempted to bring attention to his behavior in the past by mirroring anonymous accusations against the designer.

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