Fashion Magazines Blacklist Terry Richardson Years After Sexual Harassment Allegations Surfaced — REPORT
On Monday, The Telegraph reported that photographer Terry Richardson has reportedly been barred from working with several fashion magazine brands following years of sexual harassment and exploitation accusations against him — accusations which the photographer has denied.
Bustle has reached out to both Condé Nast and Richardson. Condé Nast responded and confirmed that they would not be releasing any comment on the matter.
The ban on Richardson was supposedly instated by Condé Nast International, a media group which publishes Vogue, Glamour, Vanity Fair, and GQ, in addition to a variety of other well-known fashion magazines. According to The Telegraph, Richardson's barring was supposedly communicated via email, with James Woolhouse, Condé Nast International's executive vice president and chief operating officer, reportedly writing to "country presidents" to communicate the ban:
I am writing to you on an important matter. Condé 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. Please could you confirm that this policy will be actioned in your market effective immediately. Thank you for your support in this matter.
The Telegraph also noted that Richardson's contracts with Condé Nast had already been in dispute for some time, but that this email constituted an evidently-clear ban on his work appearing in its publications. The outlet speculated that this email may have come in response to a recent re-surfacing of allegations against Richardson in the media in recent days, particularly following the cacophony of allegations against Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein. For example, The Telegraph noted that on Sunday, The Sunday Times published a lengthy article questioning the fashion industry's continued use of Richardson and referring to him as the "Harvey Weinstein of fashion." Again, Richardson has denied these allegations.
Allegations about Richardson's behavior toward models have abounded for years. According to Slate, models have alleged that Richardson has engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior toward them during photo shoots, including supposedly undressing on set and asking for sexual favors. Richardson has also been accused of reportedly pushing women to take photographs with which they are not comfortable.
Rie Rasmussen, a model and filmmaker, condemned Richardson's actions in an interview with Page Six in 2010.
He takes girls who are young, manipulates them to take their clothes off and takes pictures of them they will be ashamed of. They are too afraid to say no because their agency booked them on the job and are too young to stand up for themselves.
During the Page Six interview, Rasmussen also described how she once confronted Richardson about his alleged behavior and how he subsequently reportedly complained to her modeling agency after this confrontation.
I told him what you do is completely degrading to women. I hope you know you only [bleep] girls because you have a camera, lots of fashion contacts and get your pictures in Vogue ... Instead of arguing with me, Terry ran out of the bar. Then the next day, he called my agency and complained I called him names in front of clients in Paris. It was the most cowardly thing I have ever seen.
For his part, Richardson has denied the allegations against him, publishing a long letter in the Huffington Post in 2014 to address these allegations:
When these allegations resurfaced over the past few months, they seemed especially vicious and distorted, moving outside the realm of critical dialogue and becoming nothing more than an emotionally-charged witch hunt. ... I collaborated with consenting adult women who were fully aware of the nature of the work, and as is typical with any project, everyone signed releases. I have never used an offer of work or a threat of rebuke to coerce someone into something that they did not want to do. I give everyone that I work with enough respect to view them as having ownership of their free will and making their decisions accordingly, and as such, it has been difficult to see myself as a target of revisionist history.
Both Richardson and those who allege that he engaged in inappropriate behavior have been discussing these allegations in public for quite some time. However, Condé Nast's reported email marks one of the first times such a large media company has moved to prohibit publication of Richardson's work. While Condé Nast did not cite the history of allegations against Richardson as a reason for the supposed ban, many media outlets believe that it played a significant role in this decision.