For the last few years the fashion world has been rocked by scandals that involve fashion photographer Terry Richardson and many young models. These stories will pop up and get some attention to just be covered up weeks later. I think everybody in the fashion industry knows the stories and have either decided to pretend they have no clue what’s going on or they have publicly announced they won’t work with him. After all we are talking about Terry Richardson – celebrity favorite and well known fashion photographer who has shot every culturally relevant celebrity of the past decade — Madonna, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Justin Bieber and even the President himself and the list goes on!
He is the mastermind behind Miley Cyrus’ controversial “new” look and video for “Wrecking Ball” was directed by him.
But to many young models he is known as “Uncle Terry” who has a taste for tampon tea and handjobs among other things…
Over the years many models have become forward with stories about him and I’m glad to say Jezebel.com is digging deeper and seems to be determined to publish all the stories that many fashion industry insiders have heard but would rather hide.
One of them is Sarah Hilker who met Terry Richardson at a party for the Suicide Girls website when she was 17 years old. Danish supermodel Rie Rasmussen spoke out against Richardson in 2010. Jamie Peck was another one that came forward with her experience just days after Rie Rasmussen had. Last week another former model Charlotte Waters revealed her story on Reddit (The user amaheygirlhey described her story on the TwoXChromosomes thread on Reddit). Many others have said they regret shooting with him or wouldn’t do it again. Yet, celebrities love him!
Although these “rumors” have been out in the open since 2010 many have doubted them because how is it possible, especially considering how rare it is to have just the photographer on the set. Finally there’s a name and face to go with this allegation as well.
Leslie Lessin has been positively identified by both, Jamie Peck and Charlotte Waters, as a stylist that Richardson has worked with professionally for years (including a cover shoot for Harper’s Bazaar featuring Miley Cyrus) and has been a witness and partner in crime to Richardson.
Terry Richardson full letter denying the sexual harassment claims against him are now online, at Page Six and on the Huffington Post. In the letter he doesn’t really explain what he has been accused of or the nature of the rumors but he goes on to to compare his work to Robert Mapplethorpe and Helmut Newton and brushes off the many reports of harassment against him as “on-going quest for controversy-generated page views”.
Is he really just like any other famous photographer making art or is he the creepy “Uncle Terry” hiding behind his lens?
He seems defensive on his art rather than on his behavior. His work is popular and praised, but Richardson surely abuses his position of power. Oppressing and sexually harassing young women has nothing to do with the process of creating art. I’m certain that more people will come forward and tell their stories.
Don’t forget to read Jamie Peck’s response to Richardson’s letter and also see the list of names of people (e.g. Coco Rocha, Lena Dunham) who have had a bad experience with Terry Richardson or regret working with him.
A movement to boycott publications and brands that work with Richardson is getting more and more supporters, from #nomoreterry hashtag to the petition on Change.org.
Who supports Terry Richardson:
GQ 12 covers and 8 editorials in 4 years.
Harper’s Bazaar 21 covers and 22 editorials in 4 years ( +9 international covers).
US Vogue hasn’t used him since 2010 (4 editorials), British Vogue 5 editorials in 2 years but all the overseas editions are using him quite frequently
Interview 1 cover and 6 editorials in 3 years
W magazine has used Mr Richardson twice since 2010 for editorials
Esquire and Elle have used him once.
A Horrifying Timeline of Terry Richardson Allegations, From Trash Cans to Tampon Tea
Another take on the rumors by Jennifer Wright: Wait, DOES Terry Richardson’s work exploit women?
Young Model’s Shocking Terry Richardson Story Sparks a #NoMoreTerry Boycott
Model on Terry Richardson: I Wouldn’t Work With Him Again
How Many Models Will Speak Out Against Terry Richardson Before The Fashion Industry Cares?
Terry Richardson Is A Big, Gigantic Pervert
Coco Rocha: I won’t Work With Terry Richardson Again
Exposing Terry Richardson, Fashion’s Favorite “Pervert”
How many models will speak out against Richardson before the fashion industry takes some action and stops using him for shoots?