Terry Richardson may be the man behind some of your favorite celebrities’ favorite photographs, but according to a number of accusers, he doesn’t give his unknown models the same treatment.
In the past, a number of allegations have been made by models who allege Richardson was inappropriately sexual with them, performed nonconsensual sexual acts with them, and was pretty much all around creepy. But the latest stories that have come out have, at long last, prompted a response from the famed photographer.
For starters, this week former nude model Charlotte Waters posted her anonymous story on Reddit about her alleged encounter with Richardson when she was a 19-year-old art student and thrilled by the prospect of working with the notorious photographer, until he groped her and defiled her face. Days after the Reddit post, she came out publicly in an interview with Vocativ about the allegations, saying she did so after reading stories from fellow models who have experienced the same.
She explains the alleged encounter to the magazine, saying the following: (warning, explicit text)
Well his penis is out, and he starts taking pictures of me holding it. And then we moved over to a couch, and he had me pose on it with my back to him, and I literally felt him come over and start licking my ass. In my head I was like, Oh my God, what’s happening? He was just licking away, and his assistant came over and started taking pictures with this little point-and-shoot camera. After that he got on the couch with me, and it was just a bunch of back and forth between him directing me to do things to him and him doing stuff to me. At one point he even told me to squeeze his balls as hard as I possibly could, and I was like, Oh my God. But I still did it! Why did I do it?!
You can read the full encounter of Charlotte’s “shoot” with Terry over at Vocativ, but there are also accounts from a Fashionista.com writer when she was a young model, and another well-known model who requested to keep her identity secret who released a Skype exchange between herself and Richardson from when she was just a teen.
The rumors aren’t new, as Richardson is known for his provocative shots, but it seems like they were finally enough to evoke a response from the NYC-based photographer. The Huffington Post released a full open letter from Richardson in which he claims all of the women he has shot with consented to everything they were involved in, calling the accusations a “Witch hunt.”
“Four years ago, I chose to primarily ignore a cycle of Internet gossip and false accusations against me. At that time, I felt that to dignify them with a response was a betrayal of my work and my character. When these allegations resurfaced over the past few months, they seemed especially vicious and distorted, moving outside the realm of critical dialogue and becoming nothing more than an emotionally-charged witch hunt. Enabled and protected by the freewheeling and often times anonymous nature of the Internet, people have become comfortable concocting hate-filled and libelous tales about my professional and personal lives. In writing this, I make a humble attempt at correcting these rumors, because I have come to realize that absent my voice in the conversation, all that remain are the lies.”
Terry continues on to explain the nature of his provocative art and says his collaborations were always with consenting adults. He continues:
“I collaborated with consenting adult women who were fully aware of the nature of the work, and as is typical with any project, everyone signed releases… I have never used an offer of work or a threat of rebuke to coerce someone into something that they did not want to do. I give everyone that I work with enough respect to view them as having ownership of their free will and making their decisions accordingly.”
The response may be motivated from a business standpoint, as H&M and Equinox have both proclaimed they will not be working with Terry on future shoots.
The web of allegations is getting pretty tangled, but the mele will undoubtedly tarnish on his fame.
PHOTO CREDIT: WENN