In the early 2000s, photographer Terry Richardson made a name for himself shooting some seriously racy photos for magazines like Vice and American Apparel ad campaigns before hitting megawatt fame as part of the mainstream fashion world. For years, his often sexually explicit pics have come with the caveat that he was difficult to work with. He’s also dodged sexual harassment allegations for nearly a decade while his star continued to rise — and many models and celebs have refused to have their photo taken by him.
In light of these longtime allegations, and with victims finding a voice after the Harvey Weinstein revelations, Condé Nast — the third-largest magazine publisher in the US whose massive roster of publications includes Vogue — has reportedly issued an email statement to all their publications to immediately kill any stories where Richardson would have, or had, shot photos. The Telegraph reportedly obtained the email, which has created a stir since being published late Monday.
Although in recent years, Richardson had photographed everyone from Justin Bieber to Barack Obama (and even directed Miley Cyrus’ infamous “Wrecking Ball” video), the photographer started out his career snapping the alternative modeling scene. While his subjects may have become more famous, his trademark aesthetic has remained the same: a white background behind young women in some state of undress, with or without the photographer in the frame to give a thumbs-up.
While many considered the cameraman’s antics to be tongue-in-cheek, low-brow art that blurred the line between old-school pornography and high fashion, those who worked with him told a different story. A growing number of models have spoken out over the years about a pattern of alleged sexual harassment on set.
The controversy around Richardson’s behavior came to a head in 2014, when one former model accused the photographer of pressing his exposed private parts onto her face while she was in his studio for an “impromptu” shoot after meeting him at a party in 2008. Several models from the Model Alliance (a not-for-profit organization that supports models’ rights) backed the woman (known only as “Anna”), telling The Huffington Post that Richardson, “will ask you to take your clothes off at the casting, and in some cases, [to] give him sexual favors.”
Even though his behavior wasn’t a secret, many celebs continued to want to work with the photographer, garnering their own “Uncle Terry” snaps — a trademark photo of the celeb and photog, arm in arm, giving the thumbs up.
Since working with Richardson, many of his famous subjects have admitted to regretting their time with the man. Cyrus told Cooper Lawrence in May that she regretted the now-infamous video that Richardson directed for her during her short hair phase.
Condé Nast publishes some of the biggest fashion and culture magazines in the world including Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, Glamour, and many others.
What do you think of Condé Nast’s dismissal of Terry Richardson? Let us know if it’s too little too late @BritandCo!
(Photo via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty)