Sexual harassment scandal spreads

Fashion brands drop photographer

Photographer Terry Richardson has been accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour at photo shoots for almost two decades.
Photographer Terry Richardson has been accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour at photo shoots for almost two decades.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The publisher of Vogue magazine has also stopped working with Terry Richardson, who is alleged to have sexually exploited models

LONDON • A string of fashion magazines and brands have said they will no longer work with photographer Terry Richardson, who has been the subject of allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour at photo shoots for almost two decades.

News that fashion houses Valentino and Bulgari would stop commissioning Richardson, known for his often explicit material, came shortly after a decision by Conde Nast - the publisher of glossy magazines Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ - to drop him .

Richardson, 52, is one of the most successful photographers in the world. His trademark style is highly sexualised and he often appears naked in pictures alongside his subjects. The married father of two has shot campaigns for fashion houses, photographed Mr Barack Obama before his election as United States president and directed singer Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball video, in which she appears naked. Cyrus has since said she regrets the video.

Lurid stories about Richardson's behaviour have circulated since 2001. It has been claimed that he coerced young female models into exploitative and compromising positions and into pretending to perform sex acts on him.

He has always denied allegations of impropriety and said all encounters were consensual.

The Daily Telegraph reported on Monday that in a leaked e-mail, Conde Nast executive vice-president James Woolhouse told staff: "Conde Nast would like to no longer work with the photographer Terry Richardson. Any shoots that have been commission(ed) or any shoots that have been completed, but not yet published, should be killed and substituted with other material."

This does not mean that Richardson's work has been purged from the archives. Indeed, the GQ website still hosts a "The Best of Terry Richardson" photo gallery.

  • Other men on the line

  • NEW YORK • As the repercussions of mogul Harvey Weinstein's downfall spread farther beyond Hollywood, more men have lost jobs over sexual harassment.

    • Editor Leon Wieseltier: The prominent editor at The New Republic for three decades, who was preparing to debut a magazine this autumn, apologised on Tuesday for "offences against some of my colleagues in the past" after several women accused him of sexual harassment and inappropriate advances. Leading philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs, whose for-profit organisation Emerson Collective was backing Mr Wieseltier's endeavour, decided to pull the plug on it.

    • Celebrity chef John Besh: On Monday, he stepped down from the restaurant group he founded and co-owns after more than two dozen women alleged his company fostered a culture of sexual abuse. Twenty-five women told the New Orleans Times-Picayune they were victims of sexual harassment while working for the Besh Restaurant Group. Chef Besh acknowledged an extramarital affair, but denied allegations and knowledge of sexual abuse.

    • Two money managers: Fidelity Investments chairman Abigail Johnson on Monday urged her employees to take responsibility for their workplace culture after reports that the mutual fund company dismissed at least two money managers, Mr Gavin Baker and Mr Robert Chow, who were accused of sexual harassment.

    AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES, REUTERS, WASHINGTON POST

Ms Caryn Franklin, a fashion commentator who has been speaking out against Richardson since 2013, said the decision by the fashion industry to blacklist him is tied to the recent allegations surrounding film producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual harassment and rape by a growing number of women.

After years of the fashion elite turning a blind eye to the behaviour suffered particularly by young women, the industry is now worried that similar accusations could lead to brand damage - "and fashion is all about the brand", she said.

She added: "This is about all these shiny, glossy fashion magazines and brands now wanting to move away from the nasty smell as quickly as possible without being implicated, rather than being rooted in a deep desire for change and to champion the rights of women."

Bulgari, which commissioned Richardson to shoot its autumn 2017 accessories campaign, said previous collaborations were "one-off initiatives" and that it has "no plans to work with him again".

A spokesman for Valentino told The Guardian: "The last campaign with photographer Terry Richardson was shot in July - there are no plans for a future campaign and, of course, (we) take these allegations seriously."

Fashion magazine Porter, which commissioned Richardson to photograph model Bella Hadid in May, also told The Guardian it has "ceased working with him and publishing his images".

Models who have spoken out about Richardson in the past include Jamie Peck, who was 19 when she was photographed naked by him. He reportedly took his clothes off and then suggested she perform a sex act on him.

On Tuesday, a representative said Richardson is "disappointed".

Allegations in 2014 led to a petition asking magazines not to keep hiring Richardson and resulted in clothing brand H&M declaring it would not use him in the future. But major magazines including Rolling Stone, Harper's Bazaar and GQ continued to commission him to shoot their covers.

A statement from Harper's Bazaar UK said it has not worked with Richardson since 2012, adding: "There are no plans to work with him in the future."

THE GUARDIAN, WASHINGTON POST, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2017, with the headline 'Fashion brands drop photographer'. Print Edition | Subscribe