NYC Designer Alexander Wang facing multiple sexual misconduct allegations

Mandi Karpo, News Editor

Alexander Wang, one of New York City’s elite fashion designers known for his exuberant post-Fashion Week parties, has faced multiple sexual assault and harassment claims spanning over the past four months.

Despite multiple accusations from multiple models and other personnel within the industry, the case had recently been “resolved,” according to civil-rights attorney Lisa Bloom, who was representing the 11 accusers who had come forth about Wang’s actions.

These accusations came to a head last December when male model and graphic designer Owen Mooney shared on social media that Wang groped him in a New York City nightclub in 2017.

Mooney’s surfaced accusations have started a wave of backlash against Hollywood celebrities and their lack of ambiguity on personal and professional misconduct.

On Dec. 11, 2020, Mooney posted a TikTok video describing his encounter with Wang in a New York City nightclub in 2017. Mooney felt obligated to divulge the incident after recently hearing similar stories about others being sexually assaulted or harassed by the 37-year-old fashion icon.

“In 2017 I was in a club in New York City … and the club was just like hectic, it was so packed, could not move, and I was like by myself at one point and this guy next to me obviously like took advantage of the fact that no one could move. And he just started touching me up, like fully up my leg, in my crotch. It made me freeze completely ‘cause I was in so much shock. And I look to my left to see who it was, and it was this really famous fashion designer,” says Mooney in his first TikTok video.

After the comment section swarmed with guesses about who Mooney was referencing, many naming Wang, Mooney responded with another TikTok video on Dec. 12, 2020, confirming suspicions, saying “So, I thought in the previous video, the better thing to do was to not mention any names, but this comment surprised me just because they actually got it right. And turns out, Alexander Wang is a massive sexual predator, and there have been loads of people that he’s done this to, so in that case, he needs to be exposed.”

Days after Mooney’s videos were uploaded, Wang broke his silence and came forward with a statement to The New York Times on Dec. 31, 2020, addressing the allegations as “baseless” and “grotesquely false.”

“Over the last few days, I have been on the receiving end of baseless and grotesquely false accusations. These claims have been wrongfully amplified by social media accounts infamous for posting defamatory material from undisclosed and/or anonymous sources with zero evidence or any fact-checking whatsoever,” said Wang.

“I never engaged in the atrocious behavior described and would never conduct myself in the manner that’s been alleged. I intend to get to the bottom of this and hold accountable whoever is responsible for originating these claims and viciously spreading them online.”

Media platforms such as @DietPrada and another similar account, dedicated to exposing lack of candidacy within Hollywood and the modeling industry, have compiled several anonymous direct messages and shared their accusations against Wang amongst their followers.


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“Some claimed to have witnessed a victim being drugged by the designer, or being slipped Molly or other drugs themselves without their knowledge, leading to blacked-out nights and worse,” read the caption on Diet Prada’s Instagram post.

This is not the first time Wang has been accused of predatory sexual behavior. In 2016, Vanity Fair shared a video of musician Florence Welch explaining Wang’s “party trick,” which includes offering people straight vodka presented as a glass of water.

In 2017, a man named Nick Ward posted a Twitter thread claiming Wang grabbed his genitals at a concert in Brooklyn. And in 2019, rapper and songwriter Azealia Banks, whom Wang chose as the face of his T collection in the fall of 2012, anonymously shared sexual assault allegations accusing Wang of targeting trans women.

University sophomore Ramsey Bennani majoring in Political Science acknowledges the power of money and fame celebrity fashion designers, such as Wang, utilize as a form of manipulation in the industry.

“By taking advantage of individuals who model as a primary source of income, designers hold the economic stability of said individuals in the palm of their hands, proving that the fashion industry is truly a high-risk-low reward mode of employment,” says Bennani. “Designers are coercing individuals into engaging in sexual activities against their better judgment. To that end, designers with influence over the direction of fashion believe they are entitled to doing so.”

To advocate for victims of sexual abuse, Mooney started the #UsToo Movement in an Instagram post on Jan. 4, 2021, calling out the fashion industry and Hollywood in general for remaining silent while male, queer and trans victims come forward with their experiences of sexual harassment in the industry.

The #UsToo Movement is a continuation of the preexisting movement #MeToo, a hashtag that went viral in 2017 for bringing awareness about the severity of sexual violence. The #MeToo Movement was founded by survivor and activist Tarana Burke in 2006, which initially “developed to bring resources, support and pathways to healing where none existed before,” according to the organization’s website.

Mooney was inspired to begin the #UsToo movement as he believes the #MeToo movement lacked inclusivity among men and the queer and trans communities.


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A post shared by Owen Mooney (@owenmooney)

“#UsToo is a response to the Hollywood silence, it is not to diminish the important message and work of #MeToo. What victims need more than ever is to be heard and believed. We should be supported alongside #MeToo and importantly backed by the people in fashion and Hollywood. But instead, it’s radio silence,” said Mooney in a second Instagram post as a disclaimer.

“There were so many people in Hollywood who tirelessly advocated for the #MeToo movement, which was truly incredible, but these same people are now turning a blind eye to the current allegations. Is there any difference to what is happening now compared the what happened back then? No difference but the fact these assaults are against male, queer and trans people; so it seems #MeToo quite possibly could be lacking in inclusivity.”

Mooney’s accusations opened a window of opportunity for victims to come forward with further sexual assault or nonconsensual allegations towards Wang.

Several of those who have come forward about Wang’s sexual misconduct are pursuing potential legal action. Lisa Bloom, a well-known lawyer for sexual assault and harassment victims, notified The New York Times she will be representing 11 men with allegations of sexual assault or harassment against Wang and his company.

Since allegations have surfaced, Wang has hired at least two high-profile attorneys, Eric M. George and Andrew B. Butler, while Wang continues to oversee his company.

University sophomore Sophia Russo majoring in Arts and Entertainment Management believes CEOs such as Wang should take greater accountability in the face of obscene allegations.

“As a business major, I think it is important to recognize that if the allegations against said CEO are proven to be true, the brand should support victims and remove the CEO out of respect for their community and supporters,” says Russo.

In an email sent to Vogue, Bloom wrote, “The fashion industry is long overdue for a reckoning of its frequent, disturbing mistreatment of models … Models are not props, and they have the same rights to workplace respect as everyone else.”

Bloom announced via Twitter on March 8 that she and her 11 clients met with Wang and his team, in which the men were given “the opportunity to speak their truth to him and expressed their pain and hurt,” said Bloom in her Twitter post.

The following day on March 9, Wang went to Instagram to address his condolences and take accountability for what he originally claimed to be “false,” “fabricated and mostly anonymous accusations” in a separate Instagram post on January 4.


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A post shared by Alex Wang (@alexwangny)

“I support their right to come forward, and I’ve listened carefully to what they had to say. It was not easy for them to share their stories, and I regret acting in a way that caused them pain,” said Wang.

“I will set a better example and use my visibility and influence to encourage others to recognize harmful behaviors,” he continued.

Wang’s accusers have acknowledged Wang’s apology and are moving forward with no legal action.