The past week has been deluged with accounts of powerful fashion photographer Terry Richardson's sexual misconduct with models, particularly with some of the underage girls he's worked with. Now it's time for the insider reactions…and they're not what you'd think.
In an industry that values the status quo and strictly adheres to its own power structure, the general response is maybe not that surprising: Basically, this is just how Terry is. Or, you know, that nothing's even wrong at all! As model Noot Seear told The Cut:
"Terry's a really cool guy. It's not like he pressures you into doing anything you're not comfortable with … Terry is an amazing photographer. All that goes on while shooting is participatory play."
Is that so? And even if it is, who says models are genuinely "participatory," especially when they're young and willing to do anything for a break? In regards to that aspect, and the allegation that some agencies knowingly sacrifice their underage models on Terry's sexual altar, there is at least some recognition that things are terribly fucked up. Fashionista quotes an insider:
"Who knows if anybody really gives a shit about the models, because really, has anything else with models (weight, age, race) been resolved?…Maybe agencies will at least stop sending younger girls to him."
That seems to be the major issue, agencies saying no to younger girls. One editor agrees, "The bigger issue is underage models, and I think at some point it would just be better to say models need to be 18," while another says, "You'd think this whole situation is such a bad photographer/model cliché that you'd only see it on TV, but when you think about how many young-REALLY young-girls are trying to become the next Karlie or Chanel, it's not surprising that they would do whatever it takes to get discovered. The most surprising thing to me are the adults on Terry's team that reportedly stand by and let this happen.
Maybe these insights will prompt a change on the part of agencies/bookers. Or maybe people will continue to defend Richardson, denying the very existence of a problem. That's easier, after all.
Update: According to a Fashionista commenter, Richardson has removed some of the more lurid images from his website. Huh. Damage control?
Will There Be Consequences for Horndog Terry Richardson? [Fashionista]
Model Noot Seear Defends Terry Richardson [The Cut]