Update: Following the dropping of Terry Richardson by Condé Nast International, fashion labels Valentino and Bulgari have ceased their working relationships with the photographer, as well. As told to The Daily Beast, both brands released official statements explaining the context of their recent projects together, plus a declaration to never work with him again.
According to a Valentino spokesperson, "Valentino's last campaign with photographer Terry Richardson was shot in July 2017 – there are no plans on a future campaign and, of course, take these allegations against Terry Richardson seriously." The label commissioned the photographer to lens their resort 2018 campaign.
And per a Bulgari spokesperson, the brand insists it "has a long history of working with different photographers on various initiatives," and that "the campaign that was done with Terry Richardson was a one off, and there are no plans of working with him again." Additionally, a representative for Richardson told the publication that Richardson is "disappointed" by the blacklisting, and that "[Terry] is an artist who has been known for his sexually explicit work so many of his professional interactions with subjects were sexual and explicit in nature but all of the subjects of his work participated consensually.”
This article was originally published on October 24th, 2017.
After years of allegations against him — and following the ousting of Harvey Weinstein from Hollywood for reports of similar misconduct — the fashion industry is finally taking more tangible steps to distance itself from photographer Terry Richardson. In an email obtained by The Telegraph sent by Condé Nast International's executive vice president and chief operating officer James Woolhouse, the message was clear: any work commissioned by Richardson that's yet to be published should be deleted or replaced with something else.
The contents of the email, which were confirmed to Refinery29 by Condé Nast International, read as follows: "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." The email was sent to the company's presidents and applies to all European titles under the publisher, but doesn't explicitly apply to its U.S.-based editions.
Upon reaching out to Condé Nast's domestic branch, the publisher provided Refinery29 with the following statement: "Condé Nast has nothing planned with Terry going forward. Sexual harassment of any kind is unacceptable and should not be tolerated." A spokesperson provided further context, noting that, despite his work for GQ, Allure, W, and more, most of the domestic titles stopped working with Richardson several years ago. Richardson, known for his sexually explicit photography, continued to be booked for commercial and editorial work elsewhere for years.
The statements come late, however, given the fact that allegations against Richardson have coiled throughout the industry for years. In 2009, founder of the Model Alliance and former model Sara Ziff featured one of the first public allegations against Richardson in her documentary Picture Me, which shed light on the unethical treatment of models and called for improvements across the fashion industry. In 2014, Jezebel published further allegations against the photographer, which detailed the experiences of not one, not two, not three or four, but five women who'd spoken out about the alleged sexual abuse they'd experienced working with Richardson.
That same year, New York Magazine published an article of similar content detailing accounts of alleged misconduct, including an interview with Richardson himself in which he denies claims of sexual abuse, alongside supplemental interviews with industry insiders who've worked with the photographer. Despite these published accounts, nothing seemed to come of it. And for the past seven years, magazines as esteemed as Harper's Bazaar, CR Fashion Book, V, and Rolling Stone have continued to employ him.
But amid the Harvey Weinstein allegations, and the #MeToo campaign that went viral, there's been a renewed effort to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. After news broke about Harvey Weinstein's long history of alleged sexual misconduct, model and activist Cameron Russell began the #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse hashtag, where she lent her Instagram to models who wanted to share their own stories about sexual abuse within the fashion industry via her Instagram, anonymously. In her Instagram Stories, the model noted that while many people had reached out to her claiming several of the shared accounts were those committed by Richardson, Russell declined to confirm or deny the claims. Additionally, Ziff worked with Assemblywoman Nily Rozic to pass an amendment to New York state's discrimination laws, to include additional protections for models.
As far back as 2013, a meticulously detailed petition on Change.org was drawn calling for the industry to cease working with Richardson. At the time of publishing, the petition has ranked in over 38k signatures needed of 50k, over the past four years. If the goal is achieved, the petition is to be delivered to Harper's Bazaar editor-in-chief Glenda Bailey, who commissioned the photographer to shoot the magazine's Miranda Kerr cover story less than a year after sexual misconduct allegations against him resurfaced in other publications, such as New York Magazine and Jezebel.
While allegations of Richardon's abuse have resurfaced over the past few days, additional claims against the photographer have yet to come forth. But Richardson has continued to make his rounds in the fashion industry, and was reportedly seen arm-in-arm with newly minted British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful throughout last Fashion Month. We've reached out to Harper's Bazaar, CR Fashion Book, V, Rolling Stone, and the Model Alliance for comment, and will update this story if/when we hear back.
If you have experienced sexual violence of any kind, please visit Rape Crisis or call 0808 802 9999.