A Sydney-based model has hit fashion designer Elie Tahari with a $6 million dollar sexual harassment lawsuit, alleging that the designer groped her and created a "sexually charged environment" in the workplace. Marcy Castelgrande, 32, claims she was fired in 2011 by the designer just two hours after she complained to an HR rep at his company in New York, her Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit states.
“Tahari’s recently divorced CEO, Mr. Tahari, unlawfully and inappropriately touched Ms Castelgrande in the area of her private parts while she was modelling a skirt before a public crowd of at least 10 people,” the suit states. Tahari, 52, got mad when she protested and announced to the whole room, “She needs to leave. I can’t work with her. She is too sensitive. I’ve had lawsuits in the past and cannot deal with another one,” according to the suit.
She reported the incident to human resources and was fired two hours later, the suit claims. The suit states the company makes over $US500 million/year ($646 million) in sales.
NY Magazine reached out to Tahari for comment, and the company released the following statement: “Elie Tahari Ltd. and Elie Tahari both deny the allegations contained in the judicial complaint filed by Marcy Castelgrande and are prepared to vigorously defend the matter. Since this a pending legal matter, we do not have any further comment at this time.”
This is a legally fraught time for the designer, who is also facing a lawsuit from fellow fashion-world name Catherine Malandrino, his former business partner, who claims that he excluded her from the sale of their shared company.
IMAGE COURTESY OF ELIE TAHARI.