If there's one thing that #MeToo movement has brought to light is that sexual harassment happens across all workplaces. Late last year, the Harvey Weinsten scandal rocked Hollywood with actresses speaking out not only against the movie producer but many other men including Kevin Spacey, Jeffrey Tambor, and Ed Westwick.
Now, emboldened by the movement set off in 2017 models are adding their voices to the #MeToo movement. Over 50 models spoke to the Boston Globe's investigative team, Spotlight, about the sexual assault and abuse they experienced at the hands of famous photographers, agents, stylists, and casting directors. The goal is to expose serial predators, as well to demand protections—like the most recent rule during New York Fashion Week to provide private places to change—in an industry that often exploits young models.
The models—both women and men—who spoke to the Globe made credible allegations against 25 high-powered fashion industry professionals. The accused include some of the most well-known names in the fashion industry, including Patrick Demarchelier, who was Princess Diana's personal photographer.
In the wake of the Weinstein accusations, one of Demarchelier's former photo assistants wrote to Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour last October about her experiences with the photographer and pleaded with her to end the magazine's relationship with him. She wrote telling Wintour that he preyed on her when she was a 19-year-old intern. Eventually, fearing for her job and career advancement, she gave into his advances, but whenever he refused Demarchelier would later berate her on set.
“It hurts my heart so much to think of how many girls, many my own daughter’s age who have had to fend off or give in to his advances because I didn’t speak up at the time,” the woman, who has asked to remain anonymous, wrote in another e-mail that was circulated to a modeling group. “I remember many test shoots with teenage girls where Patrick’s team of assistants (including me) was dismissed for the day only to find naked photos of the girl in the darkroom the next day.”
Vogue and other Condé Nast publications informed the Globe on Feb. 10 that they've suspended their relationship. “We have informed Patrick we will not be working with him for the foreseeable future.”
The Globe interviewed six other women about their experiences with Demarchelier, who accused him of unwanted advances, including thrusting a model's hands onto her genitals and grabbing another model's breasts.
Four years ago, another young model encountered Demarchelier on a shoot, allegedly asking a teenage model, "Can I lick your pussy?" indicating that if she said yes he would make her famous. She rejected his advances and immediately left the shoot in Paris. Two years later, despite her protests, her agents booked her for another shoot with him, where he asked her the same question.
Demarchelier denies the allegations, telling the Globe that it's "impossible" that the accusations against him are true. “People lie and they tell stories,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.” Demarchelier said he has “never, never, never” touched a model inappropriately. He made a point to tell the newspaper that he's married, calling the accusations “pure lying” by models who “get frustrated if they don’t work.”
He's hardly the only fashion industry heavyweight named. Others include David Bellemere, whose photos have appeared on the covers of Elle and Marie Claire Italy; and Greg Kadel, who has shot for mega brands like Victoria’s Secret and Vogue.
Models like Coco Rocha and Kate Upton also told the Globe about their experiences. Rocha has been vocal about her an instance with Terry Richardson, who pretended to have an orgasm while shooting her nearly a decade ago. "It’s interesting and frustrating that now people want to finally pay attention,” she told the Globe. There are “people at the top who no doubt have heard these stories for the last 20 years,” she added, “and haven’t done anything.” In recent weeks Upton has accused Guess co-founder Paul Marciano of assault allegations, which he denies.
Read the full report at bostonglobe.com.