It’s About Time: Photographer and Alleged Abuser Terry Richardson Blacklisted By Major Publications
Late yesterday, a titan in the fashion world finally took a stand against a well-documented, known predator. Condé Nast has blacklisted notoriously abusive fashion photographer Terry Richardson.
Condé Nast is a magazine publishing powerhouse responsible for publishing both the domestic and international editions of leading fashion magazines like Vogue, GQ and Glamour as well as other well-known magazines like Vanity Fair and Wired. In an exclusive from The Telegraph, EVP and COO James Woolhouse sent a company wide email to all the country presidents of the firm giving the mandate that the company will no longer be working with Richardson. Here is the main part of the email:
“I am writing to you on an important matter. Condé Nast would like to no longer work with the photographer Terry Richardson.
“Any shoots that have been commission[ed] or any shoots that have been completed but not yet published, should be killed and substituted with other material.
“Please could you confirm that this policy will be actioned in your market effective immediately. Thank you for your support in this matter.”
Dang. Peace out, scumbag.
Wondering what the fuss is about? Richardson’s inappropriate workplace behavior toward his (often young) models has been well-documented for more than a decade. (Thanks for staying on top of it, Jezebel)
And yet, he’s one of those people who’s “so talented,” such “a renegade,” such “an artist” that celebrities I love and respect have and have continued to work with him, in spite of him being another one of those “open secrets.”
Because, of course, a certain level of abuse is totally acceptable, so long as the art that comes from it is good.
Richardson has maintained that his interactions with his models have always been consensual. However, when reading some of the accounts I’ve linked to above, it’s clear that manipulation and coercion are involved. When you have a room full of people looking on, allowing and encouraging the photographer who’s shooting you as he puts his penis in your face, or requests your tampon (from your body), or gets naked without telling you first, there’s an element of pressure there.
Don’t be such a killjoy/prude. Clearly this isn’t a big deal, otherwise we all wouldn’t be here. Just do it.
Acquiescence under circumstances like that isn’t consent. It’s a survival tactic. It’s I will do whatever I need to do just to get out of here unscathed. In a way, it’s the “fight” side of “fight or flight.” Rather than running, it’s I’m going to prove I can take it. I’m going to prove I’m strong enough. But “fight” or not, it’s still a response to a stressful, predatory situation that shouldn’t be allowed to exist in the first place.
Fast Company’s Joe Berkowitz put it really well in a tweet earlier today:
Terry Richardson has been so gross for so long and it’s been so well documented that catching up this late is just embarrassing. https://t.co/Xf1OTmHBwc
— Joe Berkowitz (@JoeBerkowitz) October 24, 2017
While it’s a great thing that a company as powerful as Condé Nast is finally making the decision to cut ties with Richardson, the fact is that this has been going on (and incidents have been reported) for years. Did they suddenly just now start caring about the models they’ve employed? And listen, I would love nothing more than for it to be fashionable for companies to cut ties with abusers, to make it difficult for them to exist in the world as they are.
But here’s the thing with fashion. Fashion has trends. Fashion is seasonal. Here’s hoping that decisions like this aren’t like hoopskirts, or bell bottoms, or slap bracelets. Here’s hoping that decisions like this are like jeans, or The Little Black Dress—always in fashion, and ever-versatile.
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