TRIGGER WARNING: This article includes descriptions of sexual assault
If you began this week thinking that we could all take it easy and just ride the Hilaria Baldwin scandal until the end of 2020, you were sadly mistaken. While Hilaria is still attempting to clear her name, and more and more cringeworthy old interview clips are being uncovered, a new scandal has exploded in the fashion world, and sadly, it’s a really disturbing one. In the past few days, influential fashion designer Alexander Wang has been accused of sexually assaulting numerous people, including male and trans models.
The wave of allegations against Wang was spurred by a TikTok video from graphic designer Owen Mooney, who responded to a prompt to share your “weirdest seeing a celebrity in public experience.” In his video from earlier this month, he describes being at a packed club for a concert in 2017, when an unnamed “really famous fashion designer” groped him without his consent.
@owenamooney##stitch with @katiefornia oh yeh the time a celeb was groping my dick in the club 🥴 ##fyp ##foryoupage♬ original sound – Owen Mooney
Mooney didn’t name the fashion designer in the original video, but he liked a comment guessing that it was Alexander Wang, which seemed like confirmation. Later, after others’ stories about their experiences with Wang began to surface, Mooney made another video, directly addressing the situation. He confirmed that the commenter “got it right,” and said that seeing numerous others with similar stories made him realize that “he needs to be exposed.”
At one point, Mooney’s second video was removed from TikTok, and he shared in an Instagram story that TikTok claimed the video violated their policy on “Harassment and Bullying.” After an understandable backlash, TikTok later reinstated the video, clarifying that the video was “removed in error.”
In the weeks since Mooney’s videos about Wang, things have taken a turn for the worse. Instagram accounts Diet Prada and Sh*t Model Management have followed the developing story, and shared many people’s anonymous allegations that are even more unsettling. Most say they were drugged or sexually assaulted by Alexander Wang, and describe his aggressive behavior. While the exact stories differ, there are certain common threads that reappear over and over. These include pressuring men to have sex with him, even though they have made it clear they are straight or otherwise uninterested.
Another reoccurring theme in the stories is “molly water,” or water laced with MDMA. Allegedly, Wang would give an unwitting person a bottle of drugged water and encourage them to finish it, and within minutes, they would feel the effects of the drugs. One person said that due to their bipolar disorder, the drugs caused a manic episode, followed by psychosis. They write that “[Wang’s] smug ‘prank’ literally put me in the hospital for weeks and ruined my career.”
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But it turns out the stories of Alexander Wang giving people substances they didn’t ask for aren’t limited to anonymous Instagram DMs. Diet Prada posted a clip from a video where Florence Welch and Derek Blasberg are reminiscing about the Met Gala. Welch recounts how one time, Alexander Wang said “you’re drunk, drink this water!” and handed her a glass of “straight vodka.” Welch and Blasberg both laugh about the memory, and Blasberg adds, “yeah, that’s his party trick.” Safe to say that has not aged well.
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While it’s taken until the end of 2020 for these allegations to gain momentum, videos like this one show that some of Wang’s behavior hasn’t really been a secret. In fact, in a resurfaced tweet thread from 2017, a man named Nick Ward tells another story very similar to Mooney’s. According to Ward, who didn’t even know who Alexander Wang was at the time, he was also grabbed inappropriately at a club.
Anyone know who Alexander Wang is? He’s apparently a famous fashion guy and I only know that cuz he grabbed my dick on Saturday night 😂
— Nick (@ShotgunMouse) September 11, 2017
Basically, while many of the new allegations have been anonymous, stories of Alexander Wang’s behavior have been floating around for years, and they’re finally getting the attention of a wider audience. So far, Alexander Wang has not responded to the allegations, though Instagram comments have been disabled on both his personal and brand accounts. The scandal surrounding Wang’s alleged actions is the latest in a long line of toxic stories from the fashion world, which is why accounts like Diet Prada and SMM exist in the first place. As with every industry, there’s clearly a lot of work still to be done in creating a healthier, safer, more positive culture, but with every toxic man who gets exposed, we get a little closer.
Images: lev radin / Shutterstock.com; owenamooney / TikTok; shitmodelmgmt, dietprada / Instagram; shotgunmouse / Twitter