Fashion photographer/disgusting pervert Terry Richardson has finally spoken out about all those sexual abuse allegations that have been doing the rounds of the fashion world for the last four years.In a letter published in the Huffington Post on Friday, Richardson defended his behaviour on photo shoots, stating that any sexual activity that took place was consensual.
“I give everyone that I work with enough respect to view them as having ownership of their free will and making their decisions accordingly, and as such, it has been difficult to see myself as a target of revisionist history,” Richardson said.
Richardson, known for his overtly sexual imagery, has been accused multiple times of sexual exploitation of young models. In March 2010 Richardson was accused by Danish model and filmmaker Rie Rasmussen of sexual exploitation. She was upset at Richardson’s use of her picture in his ‘Terryworld’ book alongside shots of half-naked young girls depicted as performing sex acts. Rasmussen commented, “He takes girls who are young, manipulates them to take their clothes off and takes pictures of them they will be ashamed of. They are too afraid to say no because their agency booked them on the job and are too young to stand up for themselves.” Model Jamie Peck has also spoken out stating, “Of all the fine folks I’ve frolicked au naturel for, he’s the only one who’s left me feeling like I needed to take two showers.” Jenna Sauers, a model and co-founder of The Model Alliance, has also stated that she has heard several complaints about the photographer’s behaviour, “I have heard from a lot of models that he has worked with that all say his M.O. is the same. You suddenly get naked and then he touches you and he goes further and further. But you’re surrounded by his assistants and they are validating his actions.”
In addition to the allegations of sexual abuse, Richardson’s photography is offensive and degrading, often verging on pornographic. One notable photograph featured a woman in a trash can giving Richardson a sexual favour as if to suggest she is ‘garbage’. Another featured models who are tied up and crammed into suitcases.
An online petition to effectively remove him from the fashion industry gained over thousands of signatures in October 2013. The petition called on brands including Vogue, H&M, Tom Ford and Mango to stop using Richardson, the world’s highest paid fashion photographer, until the numerous allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation were investigated.
In his Huffington Post article, Richardson said the accusations were untrue. “In writing this, I make a humble attempt at correcting these rumours, because I have come to realise that absent my voice in the conversation, all that remain are the lies,” Richardson said.
Do we believe him? Nope.