Vogue suspends celeb photographers over sex claims
Vogue and GQ magazines have suspended working with photographers Mario Testino and Bruce Weber following accusations that they sexually exploited models.
Both men have denied the allegations, published in an investigative report by the New York Times.
Lawyers acting for Testino, who is famous for his fashion portraits and photographs of the Royal Family, dismissed the models’ accounts, while Weber’s lawyers have also denied the claims, the paper said.
Anna Wintour, artistic director of Conde Nast, which publishes Vogue and GQ, said their magazines would not work with the photographers for the “foreseeable future” following the claims.
Thirteen male assistants and models claim Testino, who shot the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s official engagement photos and received an honorary OBE in 2014, subjected them to sexual advances.
The allegations against the Peruvian photographer go back to the mid-1990s and include groping and masturbation, according to the New York Times.
Ryan Locke, a model who worked with Testino on Gucci campaigns, said he had been aggressive and flirtatious throughout shoots. He told the paper: “He was a sexual predator.”
Photographic assistant Hugo Tillman claimed Testino once grabbed him in the street and tried to kiss him and then, a few weeks later, pinned him down on a bed before he was pulled off by another person.
Another assistant, Roman Barrett, said Testino masturbated in front of him, and added: “Sexual harassment was a constant reality.”
One assistant, who wished to remain anonymous, said Testino masturbated on him during a business trip, while another said he was groped on the backside, the paper said.
According to the paper, lawyers for Testino, 63, said the sources could not be considered reliable.
It also reports that American photographer Weber, 71, has been accused by 15 current and former models of subjecting them to unnecessary nudity and coercive sexual behaviour.
Model Josh Ardolf claimed that Weber grabbed his genitals during a nude shoot.
Another model, Bobby Roache, alleged that Weber tried to put his hands down his trousers during a casting in 2007.
In a statement to the paper from his lawyer, Weber said: “I’m completely shocked and saddened by the outrageous claims being made against me, which I absolutely deny.”
Ms Wintour said the allegations against her “personal friends” have been “hard to hear and heartbreaking to confront”.
In a statement, she said: “I believe strongly in the value of remorse and forgiveness, but I take the allegations very seriously, and we at Conde Nast have decided to put our working relationship with both photographers on hold for the foreseeable future.”
Conde Nast recently distanced itself from Terry Richardson following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, despite claims about the photographer mistreating models having been aired years previously.
Richardson has defended his famous sexual photo shoots, saying they were always “consensual”.
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