Fashion designer Alexander Wang accused of sexual assault

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By Rianna Croxford-BBC correspondent

https://www.bbc.com-image copyright Getty  images

image caption Alexander Wang is one of the world’s best-known fashion designers

American fashion designer Alexander Wang is facing further allegations of sexual misconduct.

Keaton Bullen, 21, a student at New York’s Parsons School of Design, has alleged to BBC News he was assaulted by Mr Wang at a club in the city in 2019.

It comes as the high-profile lawyer Lisa Bloom says she is now representing 11 men with misconduct allegations against Mr Wang.

Mr Wang robustly denies all the claims made against him.

‘I completely froze’

Mr Bullen, then 20, was with a friend at the Fishbowl club in New York City when he says he encountered Alexander Wang on 24 August 2019 at about 11:30pm.

He told the BBC they had initially talked about their mutual alma mater, Parsons School of Design in lower Manhattan, where Mr Bullen is currently studying interior design.

Mr Wang then invited the pair to his table and and offered them vodka by the bottle before eventually leading him to the dance floor, Mr Bullen said.

In the early hours of the morning, Mr Bullen alleged, Mr Wang sexually assaulted him.

“All of a sudden he unzipped my trousers, put his hands in my pants and started grabbing my penis in front of a bunch of people,” he said. “I completely froze.

“He then said: ‘I want to take you home with me,'” Mr Bullen alleged. “I felt weirded out… and removed myself from the situation as fast as possible.”

Paul Tweed, one of Mr Wang’s lawyers, said he was currently awaiting CCTV footage of the club from the night which he said “his client believes will totally disprove this allegation”.

Mr Bullen said he felt a duty to speak out to support others who had come forward with allegations and were being called “liars”.

He is not taking legal action and said he did not want his photo used, out of concern the public would accuse him of seeking attention.

The British model

Allegations against Mr Wang previously emerged in December after a British model claimed on TikTok that the designer had groped him during a concert at a New York City nightclub in January 2017.

In the video, which subsequently went viral, Owen Mooney, 26, said: “I was by myself at one point and this guy next to me obviously took advantage of the fact that no one could move.

“And he just started touching me up. Fully up my leg, in my crotch. It made me freeze completely because I was in so much shock.”

Two fashion watchdog Instagram accounts, @DietPrada and @ShitModelManagement, then began sharing several anonymous claims of sexual misconduct against the designer.

Mr Mooney later criticised what he called the “radio silence” from the fashion and film industries in response to the allegations, which affected people who were “male, queer and trans”.

“It seems #MeToo quite possibly could be lacking in inclusivity,” he said on social media.

In a statement at the time, Mr Wang denied the allegations as “baseless and grotesquely false” and said he would “hold accountable” those responsible for spreading them.

Mr Mooney, from Peterborough, is one of 11 people being represented by the victim’s rights lawyer Lisa Bloom, who has led a number of high-profile sexual harassment cases.

She told the BBC most of the alleged incidents were linked to LGBT clubs and that no legal action had yet been taken.

The VIP booth

Allegations about Alexander Wang’s conduct first circulated online four years ago.

Nick Ward, 28, who works in construction, alleged on Twitter that Mr Wang had grabbed his crotch at the Brooklyn Mirage nightclub in New York after midnight on 10 September 2017.

Mr Wang denies the claim and being at the club that night.

DJ Gia Garrison, now 24, described a similar encounter with the designer on Facebook.

She recently told the BBC they had met in the VIP area of the club Slake in Manhattan in February 2017 during one of her favourite monthly party nights called Holy Mountain.

Avant-garde in theme, for the occasion she proudly remembers wearing a big red cloak her friend had made, over bikini bottoms and thigh-high boots.

“I like being able to show my body and feel comfortable and free,” she said. “There’s no judgement and it’s a space where everyone can love their bodies and embrace themselves.”

Around 2:30am she recalled heading to the VIP area with her friends and, shortly after, being introduced to Mr Wang.

“I was dancing near him when he reached out his hand, grabbed my bikini bottoms and dragged it downward in front of everyone,” nearly revealing her genitals, she alleged.

“As a trans woman with discomfort about certain parts of myself that I’ve since grown to love, I don’t want someone to expose my entire body like that,” she added.

Mr Wang’s lawyer denied the allegation and said his client had “never grabbed any woman” in this way.

One of Lisa Bloom’s clients, David Casavant, recently alleged to The New York Times that Mr Wang had pulled down his pants and underwear at a club in New York in the same year.

Ms Garrison, who also works as a model and music producer, said she did not believe in “cancel culture” but has since refused to wear Alexander Wang’s clothing lines on set.

“I think it’s dangerous and doesn’t solve a problem,” she said. “What really matters is if the person truly works on themselves, educates themselves and decides to make a change.”

In a statement released in the New Year when the allegations escalated, Mr Wang, 37, said: “Seeing these lies about me being perpetuated as truths has been infuriating.

“I have never engaged in the atrocious behaviour described and would never conduct myself in the manner that’s been alleged.”

Follow Rianna on Twitter @The_Crox

 

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