The fashion industry responds to Bruce Weber and Mario Testino allegations
In today's post-Harvey Weinstein world, stories of #MeToo and sexually explicit harassment by powerful individuals have become all too familiar and disappointingly predictable. A refreshing result of these painful recounts is the holistic community that has emerged in solidarity of the victims and their broken silence. Just over the weekend, Mark Wahlberg donated his $1.5 million reshoot fee to the #TimesUp movement that aims support victims of sexual misconduct in all workplace industries.
Coinciding with Wahlberg's powerful donation over the weekend came a series of #MeToo stories that has the fashion industry divided. Penned as an exposé in The New York Times, legendary fashion photographers Bruce Weber and Mario Testino were accused of sexually assaulting several male models on separate occasions throughout both of their famed careers. The article details specific instances where male models Ryan Locke, Robyn Sinclair and Terron Wood were sexually exploited while working with Weber and Testinio.
The fashion industry have been quick to respond to the allegations, starting first and foremost with fashion's alpha female Anna Wintour who wrote directly to Vogue.com. Wintour detailed a new code of conduct that has been issued to Condé Nast for all outside contributors to adhere to, including:
*All models appearing in fashion shoots commissioned by Condé Nast must be 18 years of age or older. The only exceptions will be those appearing as themselves as part of a profile, news story, or similar content, and they will be required to have a chaperone on set at all times.
*Alcohol will no longer be allowed on Condé Nast sets. Recreational drugs are not permitted.
*Photographers will no longer be permitted to use a Condé Nast set for any work that is not commissioned or approved by the company.
*Any shoot involving nudity, sheer clothing, lingerie, swimwear, simulated drug or alcohol use, or sexually suggestive poses must be approved in advance by the subject.
Wintour also included a personal message in her statement, highlighting the brand's work with Weber and Testino, as well as her own relationship with both photographers:
Today, allegations have been made against Bruce Weber and Mario Testino, stories that have been hard to hear and heartbreaking to confront. Both are personal friends of mine who have made extraordinary contributions to Vogue and many other titles at Condé Nast over the years, and both have issued objections or denials to what has emerged. I believe strongly in the value of remorse and forgiveness, but I take the allegations very seriously, and we at Condé Nast have decided to put our working relationship with both photographers on hold for the foreseeable future.
International fashion brands including Michael Kors, Stuart Weitzman and Ralph Lauren who have previously worked with either Weber or Testino have also come forward announcing that in light of the allegations, they too will be cutting ties with the photographers.
A spokesperson for Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. said, "We recently learned of the allegations concerning Mario Testino. In light of the seriousness of these accusations, we will not be working with Mr. Testino on future advertising campaigns."
In a statement issued by Stuart Weitzman, who recently comissioned Testino to shoot Kate Moss and Gigi Hadid, Wendy Kahn, chief executive officer and brand president said: "We are deeply saddened by the allegations in today's article. We take these accusations very seriously and providing a safe and secure working environment where everyone feels respected is our foremost priority. As a result, we will not be working with Mario Testino for the foreseeable future."
A spokesperson for Ralph Lauren, who has previously worked with Weber said: "The allegations reported in the recent New York Times article are completely contrary to our values, and to our commitment to creating an environment where our employees and outside partners feel welcome, safe and can perform at their best. We will not do business with anyone who behaves in a way that compromises this commitment."
In October last year, Conde Nast announced they would no longer be working with fashion photographer, Terry Richardson following allegations of sexual assault. Both Weber and Testino have denied the allegations.
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