Condé Nast will no longer work with photographer Terry Richardson
Condé Nast has severed all ties with fashion photographer Terry Richardson after the continuing Harvey Weinstein allegations have shined a light on sexual assault, harassment, and coercion in the entertainment industry.
The publications involved in the decision include Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired, and Glamour.
James Woolhouse, Condé Nast executive vice president and COO, sent an internal email to the company yesterday outlining the decision to quit working with Richardson,
“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.”
Woolhouse didn’t explain the reasons for his decision in his email, but Richardson’s reputation in the fashion industry as sexually inappropriate at best and an intimidating predator at worst is well-documented.
Women who have worked with Terry Richardson describe an environment of sexual intimidation in which Richardson uses his stature in the fashion industry to coerce models into uncomfortable and abusive situations.
Anna del Gaizo wrote for Jezebel of her experiences with Richardson, whom she met a party. Richardson asked a then 23-year-old del Gaizo to come back to his apartment for an impromptu photo shoot. Del Gaizo claims that “as I was kind of crouched down posing, I suddenly felt his semi-hard penis pressing very hard into the right side of my face. No warning whatsoever.”
Liskula Cohen, a former model, said Richardson made her feel ‘like a prostitute’ and warned other models about working with the fashion photographer,
“I worked with him once and I would never work with him again. He made me feel as if I was a prostitute, a whore. My advice to any models who are thinking about working with him is bring a bodyguard, keep your clothes on, and if he exposes himself, call the police.”
Felice Fawn published a conversation in which Richardson implies that she can improve her career prospects by engaging in sex acts.
Jamie Peck wrote a harrowing first-hand account in which Richardson ‘maneuvered’ her onto a couch while naked and forced her to touch his penis. Peck wrote of the encounter,
“I’ll tell you: high school boys and Terry Richardson. Not that I would’ve preferred him to request anything else, I’m just sayin’: if you ask for an H.J., you are aiming low with complete knowledge that the girl is not into it.”
In many cases, these women aren’t professional models, merely young women that Richardson has met at parties or seen on the internet.
Richardson’s photographs are often extremely sexually suggestive, bordering on pornography (he’s published photographs of a young women fellating him while sitting in a trash can with the word “SLUT” written on her forehead). Richardson told the Observer that he will often get naked on set in order to make the models more comfortable.
Richardson has previously responded to allegations claiming that he has never engaged in nonconsensual behavior on set,
“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.”
Condé Nast blackballing Richardson from working with any of its publications is clearly a move to distance themselves from a photographer whose sexually abusive reputation is widespread.
In lieu of the Harvey Weinstein fallout, separating from figures like Richardson is a smart business move, but one that probably should’ve been made decades ago. The Sunday Times published a story this weekend wondering ‘Why Terry Richardson is still feted by fashionistas’.
Across the entertainment industry, men like Richardson and Weinstein have become infamous for their behavior. For years, allegations have been swept under the rug, but it seems these dudes are finally getting their comeuppance.
Get Terry Richardson out the paint.