Samantha Grindell,Lauren Edmonds,Rachel HosieTue, 23 March 2021, 8:53 pm
- Hayley Paige Gutman announced her resignation from her parent company, JLM Couture, in December.
- Gutman resigned after JLM sued Gutman over her use of the @misshayleypaige social-media accounts.
- JLM was granted a preliminary injunction against Gutman, who countersued the company and its CEO.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Hayley Paige Gutman and fashion company JLM Couture are in a tumultuous legal battle over social-media accounts connected to the wedding-dress designer’s brands.
After months of issues, JLM – which owns Hayley Paige brands – sued Gutman over her personal use of company social-media accounts, and was granted a temporary restraining order against her.
In response, Gutman announced her resignation from the company in an Instagram video, claiming that JLM locked her out of the @misshayleypaige social-media accounts and barred her from using her own name in a business context.
Insider created a timeline to explain how the problems between Gutman and JLM led to the lawsuit and her resignation, as well as what’s happened in the days since she parted ways with the company.
UPDATE: March 23, 2021: This story was originally published on January 5 and was updated on March 23 to include news of a counterclaim filed by Gutman.
In July 2011, wedding-dress designer Hayley Paige Gutman signed an employment agreement with fashion company JLM Couture.
Hayley Paige — whose full name is Hayley Paige Gutman — began her journey to becoming a household bridal designer in 2011, when she signed an employment contract with JLM Couture.
Gutman’s agreement with JLM granted the company “the exclusive world-wide right and license to use her name ‘Hayley’, ‘Paige’, ‘Hayley Paige Gutman’, ‘Hayley Gutman’, ‘Hayley Paige’, or any derivative thereof […] in connection with the design, manufacture, marketing and/or sale of bridal clothing, bridal accessories, and related bridal and wedding items,” according to a December 2020 complaint filed by the company’s attorneys and reviewed by Insider.
Gutman said in a recent Instagram video that she was 25 when she signed the agreement and did not have a lawyer review the contract.
On April 6, 2012, the @misshayleypaige Instagram account was launched.
According to the “About” page for the @misshayleypaige Instagram, the account was created on April 6, 2012. (Two years later, in 2014, a Pinterest with the @misshayleypaige handle was also created, according to JLM’s complaint.)
Gutman said she created the Instagram account in a press release provided to Insider and a video posted to a separate Instagram account. In a press release provided to Insider, however, a JLM representative said the account was intended to be a professional account “to promote the Hayley Paige bridal collections.”
“It always was, and currently is, owned by the company – just as every company owns and controls its own brands and branded social media accounts,” the press release said.
Gutman, however, maintains that her social-media accounts were never part of her 2011 agreement with JLM, with a spokesperson for the designer telling Insider “the Instagram account was started as a personal account” and that “a substantial amount of the content in this account has always been personal in nature.”
“This and the other social media accounts in question have never been subject to JLM’s control,” the same representative said. “Indeed, what JLM has not told you is that my client’s employment agreement with them gives them absolutely no rights to the subject Instagram account. In fact, the agreement made no mention at all of social media at all.”
But JLM believes social media does fall under Gutman’s contractual obligations, with a company rep telling Insider in a statement: “JLM does not agree with Hayley’s opinion concerning her obligations and responsibilities or JLM’s rights under the relevant employment agreement.”
By November 2019, the @misshayleypaige Instagram account reached 1.1 million followers.
Gutman’s popularity grew rapidly over the years since her account was first created, in part due to her exposure on TLC’s “Say Yes To The Dress” and the spin-off “Say Yes to America” from 2015 to 2019.
In the complaint, JLM claims it was responsible for Gutman’s growing fame, as Murphy arranged for Gutman to appear on the show because of “his connection at Kleinfeld Bridal, one of JLM’s biggest customers and the location where ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ is taped.”
In the same month, Gutman created a TikTok account with the @misshayleypaige handle, according to a complaint filed by JLM’s attorneys.
Gutman joined TikTok — using the @misshayleypaige handle — on November 2, 2019, according to JLM’s complaint.
The designer used the platform to post personal videos alongside bridal content. A screenshot of the page’s most recent posts show videos of Gutman’s dog, her fiancé, and Hayley Paige gowns.
JLM alleged that the mixed style of posts “did not properly represent the HP brands” in the December 2020 complaint its attorneys filed against Gutman, adding that people who follow Hayley Paige-branded social-media accounts “do so because they want to follow JLM’s Hayley Paige Brand designer wedding gown collection.”
Some time after, JLM Couture CEO Joe Murphy advised Gutman to post company-approved social-media posts as they began discussing a new contract, according to the complaint.
“Joe Murphy advised Gutman that she should post JLM approved content on the Tik Tok account, rather than posting personal images,” JLM’s complaint against Gutman said.
The company’s complaint said that rather than complying, Gutman retaliated, changing the password to the @misshayleypaige account to prevent JLM from accessing it.
At the same time, Gutman and JLM entered into discussions about a new contract, with use of the name “Hayley Paige” at the center of many of the negotiations, according to JLM’s complaint.
JLM “believed that Gutman’s decision to take over the Main IG Account [@misshayleypaige] was a negotiation tactic to obtain leverage” as she renegotiated her contract with the company, the complaint said.
By the end of 2019, Gutman removed references and links to JLM from the @misshayleypaige Instagram account’s bio, the complaint said.
Gutman changed the bio of the @misshayleypaige Instagram account to read “Personal & Creative account” and “removed reference to JLM” at the end of 2019, according to the complaint.
The complaint alleges that the bio changes marked Gutman’s attempt to “assert control over JLM’s property,” which led her to post more non-bridal related content to the Instagram account.
In June 2020, Gutman told JLM she believed she owned the @misshayleypaige Instagram account, according to the complaint.
When Gutman and Murphy discussed her use of the social-media page, she told him that “it was her position that the Main IG Account was her personal account,” the complaint said.
“Gutman’s position regarding the ownership of the Main IG Account was not only new, but Gutman at all times previously mentioned [she] understood that the Main IG account was JLM’s properly [sic] and acted accordingly,” the complaint went on to say.
Gutman denied these allegations in both a statement to Insider and her recent Instagram video, asserting that the account has always been hers, pointing to personal announcements she made on the page, such as that of her engagement.
JLM’s complaint said Gutman began posting ads for other companies and products on the @misshayleypaige Instagram account in July 2020.
In the summer of 2020, Gutman was not only sharing personal posts to the page but also posts dedicated to products that were not sold by JLM, according to the company’s complaint.
The posts advertised “the goods of third parties, such as olive oil, beer and nutritional supplements, none of which were approved by JLM,” the complaint said. In October 2020, Gutman posted a giveaway for the avocado oil brand Chosen Foods on the @misshayleypaige account (pictured above).
The complaint alleges that Gutman was “paid for these endorsements, and therefore has profited off the substantial investment made by JLM at JLM’s expense.” The complaint said JLM spent millions of advertising dollars on expanding the Hayley Paige-branded social-media accounts.
On October 25, 2020, Gutman restored the links to JLM in the @misshayleypaige Instagram bio after a discussion with Murphy, according to the company’s complaint.
According to the complaint, Murphy and Gutman met in October 2020 at Kleinfeld Bridal to discuss her use of the @misshayleypaige Instagram account.
During the meeting, the complaint said Murphy expressed to Gutman that it was “her duty to the company to include links to the JLM website,” and Gutman re-added links to both JLM and Hearts on Fire, another JLM brand, to the bio of the page the following day.
JLM’s complaint said that Murphy told Gutman the accounts belong to the company in a phone call on November 3, 2020.
On November 3, Murphy informed Gutman on behalf of JLM that it would not give her ownership rights to the @misshayleypaige Instagram account after they reached a new agreement, according to the complaint.
On the same day, Gutman removed the links from the @misshayleypaige bio again and deleted “bridal related posts” from the account, the complaint said.
JLM’s complaint alleges that “in a fit of anger” after hearing that the company wouldn’t give her ownership of the Instagram account, Gutman removed both links to JLM and Hearts on Fire from the @misshayleypaige page.
She also deleted “hundreds of bridal related posts in a further act of exercising dominion and control over JLM’s property,” according to the complaint.
“Gutman not only hijacked the Main IG Account, but she took steps to convert it from a JLM company account to a personal account,” the complaint said.
On November 23, 2020, Gutman again refused to post JLM content to @misshayleypaige and wouldn’t give the company access to the Pinterest and TikTok accounts with the same handles, according to the complaint.
When the company again requested that Gutman post JLM-related content to the @misshayleypaige Instagram account, the designer insisted the page belonged to her rather than the brand, according to the complaint.
According to JLM’s complaint, Gutman deleted more company-related posts from the page in November in addition to posting new personal content. The complaint said she would not give the company access to her Pinterest and TikTok accounts with the same handle as well.
On December 15, 2020, JLM sued Gutman over her use of the @misshayleypaige Instagram account.
The issues between Gutman and JLM came to a head in December 2020, with JLM suing the designer over her use of the @misshayleypaige Instagram account “as her own business platform as if she were an influencer,” the company’s complaint said.
“After Hayley stopped posting JLM content and deprived the company access to the account, we brought the matter before the court,” JLM wrote in a statement provided to Page Six at the time. “After carefully listening to both sides, a judge granted us the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).”
The order prevents Gutman from posting on the @misshayleypaige accounts without approval from JLM, and she was forced to turn over passwords for the Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok page, according to a statement JLM provided to Insider on December 27.
“We respect the judge’s decision that JLM should have temporary control over the company site and feel the process was fair and equitable,” JLM’s statement added.
Days later, on December 21, 2020, Gutman released a video announcing her resignation from JLM on her @allthatglittersonthegram Instagram account.
“It is with a heavy heart that I have resigned from my role as head designer of my labels with JLM Couture,” Gutman wrote in the caption. “Going forward, I will no longer be associated with any of their products, including the designs and dresses which bear my name.”
Making their legal dispute public, Gutman said in her video that JLM convinced a court to ban her temporarily from using her own name publicly and in a business context, and that the company was also given sole control of her main social-media accounts.
Gutman said in the video and in an accompanying press release that she has long viewed the @misshayleypaige Instagram account as a personal platform.
“I have used this account to talk about my life, family, fiancé, and my beloved dogs, among many other personal topics,” she said in her press release. “And now, JLM is denying me the ability to communicate with the many friends who have joined me on our shared journey, unless I get Mr. Murphy’s permission first, to make sure it is, in his words, ‘on brand.'”
“And frankly, I feel violated by the idea that JLM may use my name to give you the impression that I continue to be associated with the company, even after I have left, while, at present, JLM asserts that I cannot use my own name myself,” Gutman went on to say in the press release.
In the video — which has over 2.4 million views at the time of writing — Gutman urged her fans to follow her on @allthatglittersonthegram rather than the @misshayleypaige account.
The next day, JLM challenged Gutman’s claims in a press statement.
After Gutman’s announcement went viral, JLM released a press statement addressing the designer’s claims on December 22.
The press release challenged Gutman’s claims that she owned the @misshayleypaige Instagram account and denied that Gutman could not post anything on the page. A JLM representative told Insider at the time that Gutman was not barred “from accessing the brand’s social media accounts.”
Days later, however, a representative for Gutman told Insider on December 27 that “the temporary court order currently requires the written approval of CEO Joseph Murphy, not the brand, which speaks to the level of personal control he demands.”
“She is no longer an employee of JLM and has no interest whatsoever in posting their brand messaging to her account,” the representative added, speaking of Gutman. “My client is confident that her Instagram and other personal social media accounts will be returned to her and justice will be done.”
JLM’s press release said the company was also open to Gutman having greater control over her own name in a recent discussion. “During one negotiation, Hayley and her lawyer discussed the ramifications of having JLM own the Hayley Paige name and requested to be compensated for it,” the press release said. “JLM agreed to the request and increased Hayley’s compensation.”
On December 23, 2020, JLM posted a statement on Instagram to publicly defend the company against Gutman’s claims.
The statement was first posted to the @misshayleypaige account, but it was then promptly deleted and reposted to the JLM corporate account — a mix-up that was down to “human error,” a representative for the company told Insider.
“Like many things that glitter and shine, the issues between JLM Couture and Hayley Paige Gutman are multifaceted,” JLM’s statement says.
“While we were shocked and heartbroken to see Hayley’s video, we feel that the correct negotiations she referred to are a private matter between those parties – in this case between Hayley and Joe,” the statement continued, referring to JLM’s CEO Joe Murphy. “But in light of some of Hayley’s comments in the video, we feel compelled to address a few points.”
“First, it is documented that Hayley had a lawyer help her review her employment contracts. She consulted with her lawyer prior to signing the contracts,” the statement reads. “There were multiple rounds of negotiations between Hayley and JLM until both parties settled on an agreement each felt was fair and mutually beneficial.”
“Second, Hayley has access to the social media accounts and JLM encourages and would welcome Hayley to continue contributing content that is supportive of the Hayley Paige brands,” it says.
The statement adds: “Third, we respectfully ask that you allow Hayley, Joe and their attorneys to discuss the details of negotiations privately.”
On December 24, 2020, Gutman took to Instagram to thank her fans for their support.
Following her resignation, Gutman received support from fellow designers, bridal boutiques, and brides who had worn her gowns. She posted a photo of herself with her dog on the @allthatglittersonthegram page on Christmas Eve to thank those supporting her.
“I know there is a lot more road ahead, and frankly being this exposed is still a wee bit terrifying, but I’m going to hold onto the love I’ve received with all my might,” Gutman wrote. “I know that choosing to share my situation publicly comes with an enormous responsibility to avoid residual damage to people that don’t deserve it. My main intention was to not let personal moments or connections be compromised.”
On December 27, 2020, a JLM representative alleged that Gutman violated the temporary restraining order a court had granted against her.
A JLM spokesperson told Insider that Gutman changed the login information on the @misshayleypaige Instagram account after the court order which required her to hand over the account to the company.
“Hayley again hijacked the account by changing once again the login and password and refused to share those with JLM, an apparent violation of the court order,” the spokesperson told Insider at the time.
“It wasn’t until lawyers for JLM told her that they would notify the judge of the violation if she didn’t hand over the info in 20 minutes that Hayley handed over the info and JLM once again got access to its own account,” the representative added.
Gutman has denied these allegations.
“This is completely false, and meritless,” a spokesperson for Gutman told Insider on December 28. “It did not happen, and we told them that when they asked.”
“We stood by to assist them when they lost access to this account for reasons unrelated to us,” the spokesperson said. “We are disappointed that they continue to advance this false narrative.”
On December 28, 2020, JLM provided Insider with an email that appeared to refute Gutman’s claim that she didn’t have a lawyer look over her first contract with the company.
On December 28, JLM Couture provided Insider with an email that appeared to refute Gutman’s claim that she didn’t have a lawyer review her initial employment agreement with the fashion company in 2011. But the designer told Insider she signed the agreement without an attorney looking at it.
The first email from an unnamed person at JLM (the person’s name and part of their email address is redacted) reads: “Attached is a signed contract. Hayley please confirm you have reviewed this with your attorney.” Insider was unable to review the document that appears to be attached to the email; the contract is currently sealed by court order.
Gutman — whose email address is redacted — appeared to respond: “Thank you for sending! I have reviewed with my attorney accordingly.”
JLM’s representative told Insider that Gutman is “misleading the public and her fans when she falsely claimed that she had no lawyer when she negotiated her first contract. Indeed, JLM insisted she have a lawyer and she did have a lawyer for her first – and every – contract negotiation.”
But Gutman told Insider the email was sent after she had already signed the contract. “Despite what JLM claims, I did not have an attorney when I signed my first agreement with them in 2011,” she told Insider.
“JLM cannot and has not produced one email, one agreement draft, or one phone record with the attorney they claimed I have,” Gutman said. “Instead, they rely on an email they sent after I had already signed the contract, checking to make sure that my non-existent lawyer had reviewed it, in my opinion because they realized the inequities it contained.”
A source close to Gutman told Insider that although the designer wrote in her email that she had a lawyer look at the contract that wasn’t actually the case.
“She told JLM a lawyer had reviewed the final contract because, at age 25 in 2011, she had never negotiated a contract before, the contract had already been signed anyways, and she was very excited to get started with JLM,” the source said. “So she confirmed what they clearly wanted her to say.”
JLM declined to respond to Gutman’s claims regarding the contract.
Gutman took to Instagram on December 31, 2020, to say she wanted to “gracefully end” her time with JLM, but that the company refused to negotiate. JLM said Gutman’s assertion was “blatantly untrue.”
In an Instagram video posted on Wednesday, Gutman said she requested through her lawyers that JLM “pause the litigation and start a conversation about a graceful end” to their professional relationship, as well as drop the temporary restraining order against her for 60 days. Gutman also requested that she be given back the rights to her name, as well as sole control of the @misshayleypaige social-media accounts.
On Thursday, Gutman’s representative told Insider that JLM refused to resume negotiations “and set multiple untenable preconditions before even returning to negotiations.”
“Their response indicates their decision to ignore the will of their bridal salon customers and their ultimate clients,” the same representative said. “We are confident justice will prevail.”
In response, JLM’s representative told Insider that it is “blatantly untrue” that the company declined Gutman’s offer.
“We have repeatedly reached out to Hayley’s legal team and, without preconditions, told them we want to talk,” they said. “JLM remains committed to resolving the differences between the parties, but to do that Hayley and her team will need to engage in conversations with us. We hope that Hayley’s public statements of wanting to negotiate are sincere, and if they are we look forward to having those conversations.”
Gutman announced she filed an official response to JLM’s lawsuit on January 12.
In the filing, which Insider was able to review, Gutman asserts that the @misshayleypaige account was always her personal account, providing years-worth of screenshots as evidence.
In her own declaration that was filed with the response, Gutman stated that she started two social media accounts — a Facebook page in 2004 and a Twitter account in 2009 — with the @misshayleypaige handle before she started working with JLM. She also pointed out that her first six Instagram posts were personal in nature.
The response notes that the @misshayleypaige account was verified as a “public figure” account in 2017, making it an account for a person rather than a company, though the page has since been changed to be verified as a “clothing brand.”
The filing goes on to provide declarations from JLM employees who viewed the account as Gutman’s personal page, as well as emails from employees that refer to the @misshayleypaige account as Gutman’s page. The documents also include an excerpt of an email from Murphy regarding his view of the company’s ownership of the Hayley Paige name.
“As far as [your] personal investment (regarding JLM) it really is only related to Hayley Paige wedding gowns and related categories,” Murphy wrote to Gutman via email in 2019. “Rest assured, I do not claim access to your persona beyond what I describe above.”
In addition, the motion claims that the followers of the @misshayleypaige Instagram account noticed when JLM took over posting to the page for Gutman and commented messages supporting Gutman, indicating the page is not the same without her personal voice. The comments on the @misshayleypaige account have since been disabled.
In a statement provided to Insider, Gutman said, “I have always taken my contractual obligations seriously, and lived up to every one of them, but for JLM that was not enough.”
“Today’s response is my first opportunity to describe to the Court the misrepresentations and false claims that JLM Couture made in their emergency filing,” she added. “I believe that upon review of all of the facts, justice will be done.”
Gutman shared the news of the response with her followers in an Instagram video on Tuesday, and she even added a link to the lawsuit to the bio of the @allthatglittersonthegram Instagram page, allowing her followers to look at the document.
“I want you to take this journey along with me, and I have always valued transparency,” she said of why she added the link.
On January 22, JLM filed a memorandum in support of its temporary restraining order.
JLM filed papers directly refuting the claims Gutman made against the company in her response to the lawsuit.
The memorandum doubles down on JLM’s stance that Gutman was never the owner of the @misshayleypaige social-media accounts, arguing that her assessment that the existence of personal posts on the main Instagram account does not indicate that she owned the page.
Gutman submitted 300 photos in her filing to demonstrate the @misshayleypaige account was personal in nature, but the JLM team noted that the account currently has 5,879 posts on it, which means 95% of the posts were business-related.
Likewise, the memorandum points to instances in which Gutman got approval from JLM or Murphy for what language she should use in non-bridal-related posts, including a post she made about her divorce, which JLM cites as evidence that Gutman thought the page was owned by the company.
In addition, the memorandum addressed the emails Gutman included in her briefing from JLM employees who referred to the @misshayleypaige Instagram as her account, writing that those employees were not “in positions where they were privy to the details regarding JLM’s contractual arrangements with, assignment of duties to or acquisition of rights from Gutman.”
The memorandum also notes that Gutman’s “false and misleading smear campaign against JLM” (i.e. her recent social-media posts regarding the lawsuit) is harming the Hayley Paige business, as stores have stopped working with JLM since Gutman went public about the lawsuit.
Gutman’s employment contract with JLM is valid through August 2022, and it includes a non-compete clause that’s valid for five years after her employment ends. In the memorandum, JLM argues her social-media activity in recent weeks breaches that clause, since it has led bridal stores to stop working with the brand.
When Insider reached out to Gutman’s team for comment on the memorandum, a spokesperson refuted JLM’s statements.
“JLM’s latest claims, like their earlier ones, are full of assertions that are unsupported by the facts of the case,” the spokesperson said. “They fail to address the evidence we presented to the Court, and we are looking forward to being heard.”
The hearing took place on February 4.
On March 5, JLM was granted a preliminary injunction against Gutman.
After a month of deliberation, a judge ruled in JLM’s favor, as stated in a JLM press release.
“Judge Swain found that JLM demonstrated a clear likelihood of success in proving Hayley Paige Gutman breached her employment contract and infringed the company’s trademark,” the press release stated.
The ruling prevents Gutman from using any @misshayleypaige social-media accounts or Hayley Paige trademarks.
“Mr. Murphy continues to recognize and value Ms. Gutman’s talent and remains hopeful that JLM and Ms. Gutman can reconcile their differences,” the press release stated.
Since the ruling was a preliminary injunction, there will be an additional hearing at a later date to further examine the legal issues between JLM and Gutman.
“I’m disappointed in JLM’s actions but determined to look to the future rather than the past,” Gutman told Insider in a statement regarding the ruling.
“They have taken my name, and my social media for now, but JLM’s business is built on the goodwill of amazing women, and I believe they will be accountable to these women for what they have done,” she added.
Gutman announced she would be changing her professional name on Instagram on March 8.
In response to the lawsuit, Gutman decided to change her name so she can continue to do business unassociated with JLM, as she announced on the @allthatglittersonthegram Instagram account.
“I may have lost this round in court, but the bigger story is about a ‘girl you might know,’ who is determined to pave her own future,” Gutman said in the video. “I refuse to be nameless, and I refuse to be jobless. Since they have taken my name, I’ve decided to change it, officially and professionally.”
“I will not be reduced by what has been taken from me,” she added.
Gutman hasn’t picked her new professional name yet, and she asked her followers to help her choose a moniker in the video. She requested they choose a name that had zero association with her birth name.
“It has to be brand new,” Gutman said. “It can’t be based off my birth name or anything I’ve done with JLM. They are a part of my past, and this is my future.”
JLM declined to comment on Gutman’s decision to change her name.
JLM posted a statement about the lawsuit on its corporate Instagram account on March 9.
JLM Couture took to Instagram again on Tuesday to make a general statement that addressed both the court ruling and Gutman’s most recent video.
“Intellectual property is the cornerstone of every modern business, especially in the fashion industry,” the statement read. “JLM takes these rights very seriously, which is why Ms. Gutman’s employment agreement clearly and unambiguously set out Ms. Gutman’s obligations, what rights were being acquired and what restrictions would be imposed on Ms. Gutman, all of which she freely and knowingly agreed to.”
“While JLM will never deny Ms. Gutman’s talent, JLM rejects Ms. Gutman’s accusations as well as her version of business ethics,” the statement went on to say. “Ms. Gutman testified in court that she does not believe that a material omission is a form of a lie. JLM does not subscribe to that version of ‘business ethics’ or how she is trying to mislead the public about the facts or the case or her own motivations.”
“In her public statements Ms. Gutman omits the overwhelming evidence submitted to the court that these social media accounts were an integral part of the Hayley Paige brand business and marketing strategy, and were run as such, including admissions to that effect in her own emails,” the statement also said.
The statement went on to say that Gutman hadn’t told her followers that she had “secretly licensed” her name to her fiancé so she could do business through him and allegedly avoid the terms of her contract. The statement also noted that Gutman used the @misshayleypaige accounts to promote Chosen Foods and Optimum, which violated her contract with JLM.
“JLM does not subscribe to her version of business ethics where consumers and followers are misled and not given the facts,” the statement said. “When the court considered all of the actual evidence and facts in the case, it rejected her arguments.”
“JLM strongly encourages anyone interested in this case to read the court’s entire decision and reach their own conclusions,” it said, adding a link to the court decision to the bio of its Instagram.
Gutman responded to JLM’s Instagram post in a statement to Insider on March 9.
Gutman told Insider via email that she is “making changes in my life and moving forward,” when asked for comment on JLM’s latest post. “That’s why I am changing my name.”
“JLM Couture is a company that relies entirely on women for its business, but it continues to treat women with utter disrespect,” Gutman went on to say. “JLM took control of my social media and never informed the followers of these accounts that they are speaking with a corporation, not me.”
“JLM has also turned off comments on both my social media channels and their own, which is both deceptive and disrespectful to the thousands of strong women who have shared their opinion about JLM’s actions, only to find their words deleted and their ability to speak squelched,” she added. “This is part of a disrespectful pattern of behavior that is the exact reason I started working towards a separation agreement last summer.”
“Instead of working with me in good faith, they ignored my requests while they were secretly preparing this litigation to take from me by force what they could not get any other way,” she said. “Based on the opinion of those who have communicated with me, and attempted to communicate with them, I believe they have made a terrible mistake.”
“I have always believed that my social media accounts belonged to me,” Gutman told Insider. “I started my Instagram account on my own accord and shared a deeply personal view into my life. I am disappointed by the court’s temporary ruling, but confident that the ultimate outcome will be favorable.”
“In the interim, I am moving forward with my life and my creative passions,” she said. “Changing my name is the first step towards a new future, but it is certainly not the last. Stay tuned.”
Hayley Paige Gutman filed a counterclaim against JLM Couture and CEO Joe Murphy on March 22.
On Monday, Gutman filed a counterclaim against JLM, denying many of the company’s allegations against her, including that she misused the @misshayleypaige social-media accounts.
Insider was able to review the counterclaim, which contained new allegations against the company.
In the counterclaim, Gutman alleges that JLM withheld compensation from her in the form of both her base pay and additional compensation she says she was supposed to receive.
The claim says that JLM “willfully failed to pay and/or unlawfully deducted the Additional Compensation due to Hayley” over the last six years. The amount of money Gutman says was withheld from her was redacted in the copy of the counterclaim.
The counterclaim also says that JLM defamed Gutman in private and public following her departure from the company in December. For instance, the counterclaim argues that JLM’s claim that Gutman changed the passwords on her social-media accounts following the Temporary Restraining Order isn’t true and was an attempt to defame her.
Gutman is also suing the CEO of JLM Couture, Joe Murphy, in addition to the company, alleging that he created a hostile work environment for her, made sexually inappropriate comments, and “engaged in sexual harassment of other(s).”
In the counterclaim, Gutman alleges that Joe Murphy sexually harassed JLM employees. JLM denied the allegations in a statement sent to Insider.
The counterclaim says that “JLM forced Hayley to endure a workplace of fear, harassment, and inappropriate behavior” as a direct result of Murphy’s leadership. JLM denied these allegations in a statement provided to Insider on Tuesday, calling the claims “fictitious.”
Gutman alleges that women who had romantic relationships with Murphy were given preferential treatment, such as more flexible work hours.
The counterclaim says that Gutman knew of at least three romantic relationships Murphy had with women who were his subordinates, including a sexual relationship in which Murphy apparently fathered a child while he was married to someone else. While most employees were not named in the counterclaim, it mentioned one woman — who, according to the complaint, had a sexual relationship with Murphy — by name. The employee named in the counterclaim did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on this story.
In addition, the counterclaim says that Murphy would put down women who rejected him. For instance, Gutman alleges that Murphy made negative comments about a female JLM employee’s boyfriend and critiqued her work to Gutman after the employee had denied his advances.
The counterclaim says Murphy told Gutman over text messages that the employee who rejected him “is put together differently psychologically and needs to be micromanaged” and that she “can’t delegate […] has no aptitude, cannot keep track of time nor multitask.”
According to the counterclaim, Murphy’s inappropriate behavior was well known throughout the company and often occurred in public.
For instance, Gutman alleges that “Murphy commented on an intern’s blouse and said, ‘I didn’t know it was a wet T-shirt day’ in front of other JLM employees” on one occasion.
Gutman also alleges that Murphy made sexist comments about motherhood to her, saying that employees who had children “were performing poorly because of their familial status.”
In the counterclaim, Gutman alleges that Murphy harassed her on multiple occasions. JLM also denied these allegations in its statement.
The counterclaim went on to say that Murphy directly harassed Gutman, alleging that he made inappropriate comments about her body on multiple occasions. JLM also denied these claims in its statement to Insider, saying that Gutman “was always treated with the utmost respect” at the company.
The counterclaim says that Murphy compared Gutman to a JLM employee he was dating, invited her to his Florida beach house for a recreational trip, and made her feel physically unsafe at work.
“Murphy would often summon Hayley to a crammed secluded back office, use his physically imposing nature to block the door, and engage in inappropriate and invasive personal conversations into Hayley’s romantic relationships, sex life, and family life,” the counterclaim said.
In these meetings, according to the counterclaim, Murphy encouraged Gutman to discuss her relationship with her fiancé and then told her that her relationship was “really not good for” her as it distracted her from work.
The counterclaim says that Gutman was so uncomfortable in these meetings that she began “to hide a sharp object in her pants or dress to use to defend herself in case Murphy tried to physically touch her.”
According to the counterclaim, Gutman experienced “hair loss, circulation issues, trouble sleeping, and sought therapy as a direct result of the work environment at JLM and interactions with Murphy.”
In its statement sent to Insider, JLM denied the new claims from Gutman’s counterclaim.
“JLM Couture Inc. is appalled by the new false allegations made by Hayley Gutman in her March 22 court filing,” the statement obtained by Insider read.
It continued: “Ms. Gutman only brought these fictitious claims now, after the court agreed with JLM and issued a significant Preliminary Injunction against her, to malign in the media the outstanding reputation of the company and Chief Executive Joe Murphy.”
“Ms. Gutman continues to promote a false narrative regarding the terms of her employment contract, compensation, and trademark rights, including social media handles and how and where she can use the designer name,” the statement went on to say.
“For years, Ms. Gutman was the highest-compensated employee of JLM Couture,” the statement read. “JLM denies claims by Ms. Gutman regarding a hostile work environment or that Ms. Gutman was harassed or mistreated in any way. On the contrary, she was always treated with the utmost respect.”
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