More fashion photographers accused of sexual misconduct on set
2017 became the year that women stopped being silenced on issues of gender specific sexual misconduct in the workplace and beyond; and in 2018, there are no signs of slowing down. The media has become a rifle range, shooting down powerful man after powerful man with detailed exposés from women (and men) brave enough to come forward. And the latest group of men in the firing line are some of fashion's heavy weight photographers and stylists following a report made by models RJ King, Myla Dalbesio and Madisyn Ritland in The Boston Globe.
The Globe's investigative team spoke to more than 50 female and male models (many of whom chose to remain anonymous) and found that almost 60% of models spoken to claimed that they had "been touched inappropriately during work-related situation." The accusations in the investigation range from forced and inappropriate touching, sexually aggressive comments made on set, to rape.
In the report, fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier - known for being Princess Diana's unofficial photographer and frequent contributor to Vogue and other Condé Nast publications - was accused of groping models on set and of making suggestive comments. A former assistant to the photographer claimed that she felt pressured into sleeping with him in order to keep her job. Demarchelier has denied the allegations telling the Globe that "It's ridiculous," and that "People lie and they tell stories."
Other photographers such as Greg Kadel - who has worked for Victoria's Secret and brands like Vogue - David Bellemere - whose photographs have appeared in Elle and Marie Claire Italy - as well as Andre Passos and Seth Sabal who were all mentioned in the report have denied the allegations. However, the Globe's investigative team reports that all accounts submitted by models and were verified by third parties and through email archives where available.
In a statement from Condé Nast, a spokesperson said: "We have informed Patrick [Demarchelier] we will not be working with him for the foreseeable future." This follows a new code of conduct that was announced by Anna Wintour in January that protects models and junior workers on set. Likewise, Victoria's Secret has announced they have suspended their working relationship with Kadel and Bellemere. Calvin Klein also announced they will be issuing a new set of company guidelines following the allegations made against industry photographers in the past months. Luxury conglomerates LVMH and Kering have also formed a new model charter to protect the wellbeing of models in the future.
The accusations follow longstanding allegations against fellow fashion photographer Terry Richardson, and a New York Times report against Bruce Weber and Mario Testino that detailed the pair's abuse of male models on set.
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