Christy Turlington Says There's Widely Known Sexual Harassment in the Fashion Industry
Since news of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct broke, women not only in Hollywood but also in sports and fashion have used their platforms to speak out against harassment, particularly in the workplace.
And now, one of fashion’s most recognized and beloved supermodels is doing just that. Christy Turlington Burns spoke with WWD about the topic and shared her view that the fashion industry has a history of allowing harassment to take place without repercussions.
“I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experienced at some point in our careers,” she wrote via email. “I feel fortunate that I did not personally experience anything traumatic, but also know what is not the norm.”
In the interview, she moves on to explain she was lucky because her mother was with her often, and people she trusted surrounded her.
“There were many times I could not believe who I was left under the care of on early trips to Milan, Paris, or London. I would get off of a flight and find some creepy playboy type there to meet me,” she said.
“In hindsight, I fear I may have played the 'honeypot' that has been described in the stories about these predators who make other women feel protected. Unknowingly, but still an accomplice of sorts. I might have been the assurance that made other young women feel safer. If I’d known how these men thought and behaved, I might have done more to stay clear of them.”
As for what can be done, Turlington Burns has suggestions. “The best way to protect young models is to keep them in school and off sets until they are adults. But that’s only part of the problem. We need to teach our girls, and young boys, how to protect themselves and defend themselves against predators in every area of their lives,” she said.
“Sexual harassment can happen anywhere and at any time. In the playground, in school, on the bus, in crowded public spaces. Accepting this and preparing for it will help more of us know how to handle it when it does happen.”