Fashion photographer Terry Richardson has been all over the media for the last couple of months. Allegations of sexual abuse and of rape have been casting a heavy shadow over his photo shoots, and over the models and companies who continue to work with and for him. Several first hand accounts have surfaced from models who have been exploited by Richardson over the years.
To put matters simply, Terry Richardson is a scumbag who uses his power and influence in the fashion industry to force models into compromising sexual situations.
I’ve been hesitant to post my opinion on these matters due to the seriousness of the allegations and the amount of media hype that has surrounded the claims of rape and sexual abuse. I don’t for a second doubt the validity of the claims, and think that Terry Richardson has no place in the fashion industry and should be outcast from it, and face legal repercussions. On the other hand, the media has a way of super-sensationalizing stories like this, and I just wanted the buzz to die down a bit so I could form a cohesive opinion on the matter that wasn’t influenced too heavily by what I was reading on sites/media sources that are extremely quick to start a witch hunt.
The most astounding thing about the allegations, in my opinion, is the general apathy that they are being greeted with by companies in the industry and by people in positions of being able to make change.
OBAMA POSED IN TERRY RICHARDSON PHOTOS, AFTER HE HAD BEEN ACCUSED SEVERAL TIMES OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT AND ABUSE.
Think about that for a second: the president of the United States has willingly posed for the photos of an accused rapist. Makes not a lick of sense.
Buzzfeed recently posted an article where they asked 25 different major fashion companies who have used Terry Richardson to shoot photos since 2012 if they planned to work with him in the future, now that more and more allegations from models are beginning to surface. The results are startling.
In general, magazines and companies are responding with silence or ‘no comments’ on the matter. Is it so hard for someone to take a stand on an important issue like this? It all comes back to the bare essentials for these companies though: they’re here to make money, morals be damned, and Terry Richardson makes them money. Despicable!
The power dynamic being put on display here is really sickening. Richardson often shoots with younger, unknown models, who are forced into a position of either potentially jeopardizing their future as a model, or bending to the will of a man who holds all the power in the world, in the camera that he’s holding in his hands. The fact that those who are in power refuse to act makes matters even worse, and really puts the lack of moral guidelines in the fashion industry into perspective.
As long as big companies continue to employ Richardson, he will continue to get away with his actions, and that’s something which is simply unacceptable.