After two models spoke out about Terry Richardson's alleged sexual misconduct on shoots, Jezebel asked readers to write in with any stories they may have about the prolific photographer. Jenna Sauers writes that people from all facets of the industry contacted her, including current and former modeling-agency bookers, photographers, writers, editors, models, and stylists, among others. Everyone spoke to Sauers anonymously out of fear of losing their jobs.
One fashion insider says agencies "know full well Richardson's predatory behavior," but that he "is tolerated because the industry folk are just sheep. There are only a handful of photographers who have the power, a handful of editors who have the power, and a handful of clients who have the power. Everyone else just follows this small group of people." Because Richardson carries the dual stamp of editorial approval of Anna Wintour and her French counterpart Carine Roitfeld, and because he also shoots for behemoth commercial clients like H&M, his entrenchment in the fashion pantheon is virtually complete. And that, says the source, makes him practically untouchable. "Those people in power, the women, need to take their responsibility for what happens to the girls because by booking him, they are tacitly giving their approval that whatever he does is OK."
What he allegedly does, according those who wrote in about their personal Richardson experiences, is take advantage of girls desperate to make it in the industry:
We also heard from a woman who is friends with a stylist who used to work with Richardson. "She quit because of having to watch him sexually harassing/abusing two (naked) teenage Eastern European models who didn't speak English — she didn't speak up, and was so ashamed I don't think she did anymore styling for quite a while afterwards."
An anonymous ex-subject, who wrote from an anonymous e-mail address and did not reply to follow-up questions, said she posed for Richardson after she lost her job at a coffee shop and needed money. She claims she thought she would be shooting "artful nudes":
He first asked me to play with myself, and just made really creepy demands.
He said it wasn't pornish because he was shooting still shots, and when I said that I felt like he was seeing if I was just dumb, he handed me the camera and said, "Fine you should [shoot] me playing with myself."
I mean his assistants were like, "Do you think all these celebrities would take pictures with him if it was porn?"
According to this source, Richardson then got her to perform oral sex on him, and photographed it. Another girl wrote in with a story about Richardson shooting inebriated girls nude or in near-sex acts, and another still had a story about models so desperate to make it they allegedly flashed him in all kinds of ways. Industry sources told the Daily Beast this week that everyone knows this is just how Richardson is. As we said yesterday, whether or not these and past stories about Richardson are true, just because magazine editors and fashion companies know he messes around with his subjects and whatnot doesn't make it okay.
Though Richardson shoots for everyone from Vogue to Harper's Bazaar to V, there is one gaping hole in his current body of work: W, which he hasn't shot for in ages. W's editors haven't commented on why, but according to one rumor, he was banned because art director Dennis Freedman found a photo he took of a model posed with her head in an oven offensive.
Exclusive: More Models Come Forward With Allegations Against Fashion Photographer [Jezebel]
Related: ‘Everyone in Fashion Knows Terry Richardson Messes Around With the Girls He Photographs’
Model Accuses Terry Richardson of Taking Advantage of Her at 19
Model Rie Rasmussen Finds Terry Richardson’s Work ‘Degrading to Women’