Inspired by the #MeToo movement, the models, a mix of men and women, spoke to the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team to expose the photographers, stylists, casting directors, and agents and demand changes in an industry that treats them like “meat.” Almost 60 percent of the models told the Globe, in a piece title “Beauty and the Ugly Truth” published on Friday, they have been sexually violated with behaviors ranging from unwanted touching to rape.
Dasha Alexander claimed a photographer had penetrated her with his fingers to make her photos “raw” and “sensual.” Coco Rocha shared that when she was 16, she was booted from a job after refusing to get naked, and shortly afterward, a photographer pretended to have an orgasm during her shoot. And Lenka Chubuklieva told the publication that one shutterbug threw her on the bed and kissed her, another masturbated in front of her.
According to the Globe, some of the men include Greg Kadel, a photographer for Victoria’s Secret, stylist Karl Templer whose resume includes working high brands like Coach and Zara, and photographers Andre Passos and Seth Sabal. All the men deny the accusations, telling the Globe that the incidents were either consensual or that the models misconstrued how the men positioned their bodies during shoots.
Last week, Demarchelier, 74, told the Globe, “People lie and they tell stories. It’s ridiculous.” He also said the models were “pure lying” and the claims were a revenge tactic by women who get “frustrated if they don’t work.”
However, on February 10th, Conde Nast severed its long-term relationship with Demarchelier, with a statement which read, “We have informed Patrick we will not be working with him for the foreseeable future.”
Last week, model Kate Upton, 25, told Time that Guess co-founder Paul Marciano had sexually harassed and bullied her since the age of 18. She described her first day on the Guess set in 2010, saying, “Paul Marciano said he wanted to meet with me. As soon as I walked in with photographer Yu Tsai, Paul came straight up to me, forcibly grabbed my breasts and started feeling them — playing with them, actually. After I pushed him away, he said, ‘I’m making sure they’re real.’”
Upton also claimed Marciano forcibly kissed her, followed her to her hotel room, fired her from jobs, and kicked her off set, calling her a “fat pig.”
In his defense, Marciano sent a statement to Time, which read, “I have never been alone with Kate Upton. I have never touched her inappropriately. Nor would I ever refer to a Guess model in such a derogatory manner.”
And in October, model Cameron Russell launched an Instagram campaign called #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse, sharing anonymous accounts of misconduct from fellow models. She also disclosed her own experience reporting sexual harassment only to be dismissed by collegues.
The Globe also reported that one of Russell’s posts inspired Demarchelier’s former intern to write a letter to Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, asking her to cut ties with the photographer, and that “she eventually gave into his sexual demands, feeling that she could not continue to reject him without endangering her position. When she did resist, she said, he would later berate her on the job.”
Six women also told the Globe that Demarchelier’s behavior included “thrusting a model’s hands onto her genitals and grabbing another model’s breasts, as well as making vulgar propositions. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity because they fear career repercussions for speaking out against people with so much clout in the fashion world.”
Per the Globe, “Four years ago, Demarchelier allegedly asked a teenage model, “Can I lick your p**sy?” and indicated he could make her famous if she said yes. Shocked, the model, who detailed the exchange to the Spotlight Team, said no and left the Paris hotel where the shoot was supposed to take place.”
In October, Vogue cut ties with another photographer, Terry Richardson, who has shot President Obama and Kylie Jenner, after decades of sexual assault rumors, which ultimately resulted in a January NYPD investigation.
In 2014, Richardson responded with an open letter on the Huffington Post, which read, “Sadly, in the on-going quest for controversy-generated page views, sloppy journalism fueled by sensationalized, malicious, and manipulative recountings of this work has given rise to angry Internet crusades. Well-intentioned or not, they are based on lies. Believing such rumors at face value does a disservice not only to the spirit of artistic endeavor, but most importantly, to the real victims of exploitation and abuse.
Per the Globe, Sabal and Passos were accused of sexually abusing underage girls (which both deny), with one stating that the former had given her alcohol and asked her to remove her underwear and the latter had digitally penetrated Alexander while taking her photo. And one former modeling agent told the Globe that Kadel treated the set like his “personal playground.”
The models said they rarely complained at the time due to fears they would be branded as difficult to work with. However, says Rocha, there are “people at the top who no doubt have heard these stories for the last 20 years and haven’t done anything.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- Does the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue have a place in the #MeToo era?
- Kate Upton and Uma Thurman waited years to tell their #MeToo stories. Here’s why.
- Cornell University frat ran a ‘pig roast’ contest with points earned for sexual conquests