Aspiring model Nicholas Hamman-Howe filed a lawsuit yesterday against former America's Next Top Model and True Beauty judge Nolé Marin for allegedly attempting to exchange career help for sex. Marin is accused of inviting Hamman-Howe to his apartment in October 2007 for a photo shoot, where he allegedly told the model to strip down to his underwear and then fondled him. The Daily News reports:
Hamman-Howe "was shocked and repulsed and pushed defendant Nole Marin away, shouting, 'This is not what I want to do!'" says the suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court. According to the complaint, Marin nonchalantly replied, "It's a very sexual industry" and told Hamman-Howe modeling is "all about who you know and what they'll do for you."
After bolting from Marin's apartment, Hamman-Howe steered clear of Marin until earlier this year, when Marin allegedly sent him a series of texts promising him up to $120,000 to pose for an Armani campaign.
"I want you to be an underwear king!!!" the text said, according to the suit. Hamman-Howe agreed to another photo shoot, but "much to [his] chagrin," found himself alone again at Marin' [sic] apartment, rather than with "a crew of representatives from Armani," the suit said. At this meeting, according to the suit, Marin reached into Hamman-Howe's underwear. "You want to be a superstar?" he is accused of saying. "You can be a superstar."
Regardless of whether these allegations prove to be true, this kind of thing does happen far more than reported in the modeling industry, particularly to little-known models who feel they'll jeopardize their careers if they speak up. It's good to see a relatively unknown model taking a stand.
Update: Nolé Marin's lawyer, Jeff Sanders of Ritzholz Levy Sanders Chidekel & Field LLP, has released the following statement regarding the lawsuit: “The complaint is rife with so many false allegations - from the mundane to the sensational, that Mr. Hammam-Howe’s attorneys should be ashamed. Mr. Nole is an icon of the fashion industry who will not be intimidated by Mr. Hammam-Howe’s desperate fiction, and will defend these claims vigorously.”