It was the slap heard ’round the world in September, when PR executive Lynn Tesoro got slapped by a guest backstage at Zac Posen’s evening fashion show at Lincoln Center. Now, Tesoro is officially fighting back with a lawsuit filed in New York against Marie-José Susskind-Jalou, who is the president of French publishing house, Jalou, and her daughters—Jennifer Eymere and Vanessa Bellugeon—who work for Jalouse and L’Officiel magazines.
To recap: Tesoro and Susskind-Jalou got into it backstage at Posen’s show, where the FDNY had recently forced the show’s organizers to remove a whopping 60 seats—resulting in some serious seating snafus. Susskind-Jalou and her daughters were reportedly frustrated with the seating situation, and with Tesoro’s lack of urgency in regards to the situation. And that’s when Susskind-Jalou reportedly slapped Tesoro, in full view of any guests and/or press who happened to be in the area—including our own fashion editor, who witnessed the whole event. Eymere later took credit for the incident, even telling WWD that she did it “just to humiliate her.”
According to WWD’s latest report, Tesoro—who apparently filed notice that she intended to sue just days after the event—has officially filed a suit which includes charges of battery against Susskind-Jalou, assault and slander against all three defendants, and a charge of libel against Eymere (presumably for her comments to WWD following the incident). Tesoro is reportedly seeking “unspecified damages,” though initial reports following the slap itself indicated she was seeking a cool million.
In the suit, Tesoro claims that she “calmly” explained the seating problems to the defendants, but that the trio continued to “berate” her in public in a “loud and offensive manner.” Tesoro claims that it was Susskind-Jalou who slapped her “without provocation,” even though her daughter, Eymere, had taken credit for the slap back in September. The slap and resulting press, Tesoro alleges, both “injured” her professional life and “humiliated” her, to boot.
The whole affair has been one of the more jaw-dropping spectacles we’ve seen at New York Fashion Week, and Eymere’s spectacular comments to the press following the incident—which included such zingers as “Now you know you don’t f—k with French people”—didn’t exactly win her fans among the New York press. At this juncture, we’d venture to say both parties are likely looking to resolve this quickly.