Ashley Graham Says She Was Sexually Assaulted By A Photographer & The Story Is Terrifying
The #MeToo movement isn't going anywhere. In fact, its message and meaning are reaching more and more people daily, and inspiring them to speak out about with their own experiences. On Tuesday, Ashley Graham shared her #MeToo story, explaining that she was sexually assaulted by a photography assistant early in her career. Unsurprisingly, the tale is terrifying.
Appearing on The View, Graham was asked about her work with Terry Richardson, the famous photographer with a history of alleged sexual assault and harassment. During the conversation, Graham explained that while Richardson did not behave inappropriately with her, she does have a #MeToo story.
At 17, during a shoot for a major, unnamed campaign, Graham was allegedly lured into a hallway by a photography assistant who subsequently pushed her into a closet where he exposed himself to her. She explained, "He said, 'Look what you did to me all day long. Now touch it.' And I freaked out, and I ran out of the closet, and I just prayed that no one would find out."
Graham said she feared that if word were to spread of the incident, she would be labeled "a difficult model" unable to book jobs in the future. The assault was clearly harrowing for Graham, and her decision to speak up only adds to the troubling allegations of sexual assault and harassment in the entertainment industry.
Graham went on to explain that if the incident had happened now, with the #MeToo movement occurring around her, things would have been different. She says she would have spoken out about the assault, and while there's no way to know what would have happened, she would have done something.
Graham explaining how things would have occurred differently highlights the importance of #MeToo, and the impact it is having in the entertainment industry and beyond. Graham herself even said on the show that, "The movement is working, and I really feel like that is women who are standing up and saying, 'No, me too, and I'm going to watch out for my sisters on set.'"
The movement is certainly having an impact in the entertainment industry, and it was perhaps no more obvious than on Sunday during The Golden Globes. #MeToo creator Tarana Burke walked the red carpet with actor Michelle Williams in solidarity with victims of sexual assault and harassment in the workplace. The pair attended together also in support of Time's Up, an initiative launched by the entertainment industry to support victims of sexual harassment and assault in all industries, and call for an end to marginalization and oppression in a way that is inclusive and intersectional.
Williams and Burke were not the only women on the red carpet who showed their support. Nearly every female celebrity walked the carpet wearing black, a show of solidarity among one another and among women throughout the country. In addition to their sartorial choices, the women also wore Time's Up pins to show their commitment to the movement.
Graham's #MeToo story is undeniably important, as is every survivor's story. Each voice is adding to the building symphony of women saying no more.