Victorious Angels – WE RISE

Call on the BBC to release evidence crucial to a criminal sexual abuse investigation.

 

Victorious Angels – WE RISE is a global collective of abuse survivors of Gerald Marie and Jean Luc Brunel whose mission is to support, encourage and protect all victims of model industry abuse. We aim to provide a safe environment for survivors to gather, share their stories and be heard as we actively seek justice. We continue to campaign for legal reform around the statute of limitations in France, a law that currently fails victims worldwide and favours the perpetrator. We lend our voices to all those seeking a safer industry for future generations, one that is free from sexual abuse and exploitation.

 

PRESS RELEASE: 22 September 2023

Gerald Marie Survivors react to Linda Evangelista’s Gerald Marie abuse claim.

Abuse survivors of Gerald Marie reacted with a mixture of sorrow, gratitude and support to Linda Evangelista’s public admission that she too was abused by the former French model agent. In Apple TV’s The Supermodels series, Evangelista alleged that she was abused by Marie to whom she was married from the ages of 22 to 27.

Evangelista, 58, said that it was out of fear that she had not told her story before. She added, “Thanks to the power of all these women coming forward, God bless all of them, it gave me the courage now.” She added that our allegations “broke my heart.” “I would love that justice be served.”

The survivors and their lawyer, Anne-Claire Le Jeune, are hopeful that the comments from someone as high profile as Evangelista and who was married to the former Elite Models’ boss, would boost their case in Paris.

Former top model, Laurie Marsden, 60, who modelled between 1981 and 1992, was assaulted by Marie in Paris. She said today, “I am grateful to Linda for coming forward about the abuse she suffered at Gerald Marie’s hands. It is not easy to go public. I know. And all of us survivors know what it was like to be under his power, control and darkness. Thank you, Linda. We stand with you.”

Former model for Elite, photographer and campaigner, Emily Mott, 58 who lives in the UK, described how, “I was assaulted by Marie when moving Linda into his apartment and so am not surprised by these allegations of domestic abuse. I commend Linda for her bravery to speak out about the violence and yet am saddened to welcome one more strong woman into our ever-widening circle of Marie victims.”

Swedish model and founder of True Star Coaching, Ebba P Karlsson, was sexually assaulted in Gerald Marie’s office in Paris. “It was when he was married to Linda. I was threatened to be killed by one of his scouts if I would tell the truth. I can’t verbalise enough how happy I am that Linda is finally coming forward with her story. I am so proud of her and commend her courage. It’s a very difficult thing to do. I wish she would join our group Victorious Angels, to fight injustice together with us.”

Shawna Lee, former Elite Model Look of the year contestant and make-up artist said, “It’s great that Linda has come forward with her own story of abuse, someone who was close to Gerald Marie, knew him intimately and professionally for years, and she supports us. It’s been a massive struggle and very painful to relive these past memories and put our stories out in the public.”

Former international model, activist and author, EJ Moran, 64, who modelled from 1976 to 1988, said, “You too, Linda? Why am I not surprised? I can imagine what you endured during your relationship with Gerald Marie, having been savagely raped by him myself. Thank you for your courage in coming forward.  My heart goes out to you. Thank you for standing by us, and for your courage in coming forward.”

Jill Dodd, 63, author and former model said, “My mission in writing my book and speaking publicly about being raped and trafficked by Gerald Marie was always to help other women who have suffered a similar situation. The sexual abuse victim is always paralyzed by fear and shame. My work is to destroy that fear and shame. I’m very pleased we gave Linda courage and strength to speak out. This will help her heal. I love and am grateful to all my model sisters I’ve gotten to know through this tragedy.”

Anonymous survivor, Sophia, 64, added, “We knew we were right. So brave of Linda to come forward.”

The survivors who formed ‘Victorious Angels’, a group supporting model industry abuse victims globally, hope that Evangelista will consider joining their case.

Le Jeune said, “It is very interesting that even Marie’s ex-wife says she was abused by him. If she is eager to join our case, then it will be fantastic.”

While prosecutors closed the wider case, former BBC journalist and sexual assault victim, Lisa Brinkworth, 56, filed a complaint with the examining judge in January of this year so that investigations in Paris can continue. Brinkworth said, “Our lawyers have applied to the judge to interrupt the statute of limitations in my case. We remain confident that truth will prevail.”

Brinkworth added, “We understand how difficult it is to stand up to an abuser and to go public with our allegations; it must be even more so when you were married to that abuser. Linda’s courage has given us renewed hope that our journey has not been in vain.  Linda should know that our hearts break all over again, for what we now know she endured. It is “thanks to the power” of all us women coming forward that has brought us one step closer to justice. We hope that the bravery she has shown will encourage others to follow”.

French lawyers in Paris have again written to the BBC urging the corporation to release much needed evidential materials to the French authorities. On his departure from the BBC in April, former BBC chairman, Richard Sharp, asked BBC lawyers to co-operate with victims and assist with the French case. His request has fallen on deaf ears.

In light of the Russell Brand allegations, the BBC claimed that the corporation “will always listen to people if they come forward with any concerns, on any issue related to any individual working at the BBC, past or present.” The Marie survivors have yet to see that demonstrated.

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