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14-03-2014
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I thought I'd post Terry Richardson's whole "open letter" so people could read his perspective:

This is from The Huffington Post:

Quote:

Terry Richardson
Photographer, artist, and director

Correcting the Rumors

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.

When I moved to New York in 1990 to take pictures, a lot of my work was a documentation of my life in the East Village; it was gritty, transgressive, and the aesthetic broke with the well-lit, polished fashion images of the time. My first big campaign, shot in 1994, was a provocative picture of a couple embracing in a bar. It was a shocking image for its time and the first instance a photograph of this nature was used in a major fashion advertisement.

Like Robert Mapplethorpe, Helmut Newton, and so many others before me, sexual imagery has always been a part of my photography. Ten years ago, in 2004, I presented some of this work at a gallery show in New York City, accompanied by a book of the photos. The show was very popular and highly praised. The images depicted sexual situations and explored the beauty, rawness, and humor that sexuality entails. 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, and as such, it has been difficult to see myself as a target of revisionist history. Sadly, in the on-going quest for controversy-generated page views, sloppy journalism fueled by sensationalized, malicious, and manipulative recountings of this work has given rise to angry Internet crusades. Well-intentioned or not, they are based on lies. Believing such rumors at face value does a disservice not only to the spirit of artistic endeavor, but most importantly, to the real victims of exploitation and abuse.

People will always have strong opinions about challenging images, and the dichotomy of sex is that it is both the most natural and universal of human behaviors and also one of the most sensitive and divisive. Over the course of my career, I have come to accept that some of my more provocative work courts controversy, and as an artist, I value the discourse that arises from this. I can only hope for this discourse to be informed by fact, so that whether you love my work or hate it, you give it, and me, the benefit of the truth.
EDIT: Also, here's a response from Flavorwire:

http://flavorwire.com/445508/terry-r...w-open-letter/

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Last edited by Not Plain Jane; 14-03-2014 at 02:49 PM.
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14-03-2014
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lies

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14-03-2014
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He is so pathetic and disgusting to try to hide behind the excuse that what he does is "art"...

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15-03-2014
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That letter just .....

First, Richardson is missing the point entirely.

The models coming forward aren't complaining simply about the nature of his photography (overtly sexual,etc), they are complaining about what goes on in the process of creating his photos.

As a number of them have pointed out, such as Jamie Peck;Charlotte Waters,etc, they have no qualms about posing nude.

They do however draw the lines with unwanted sexual advances. Whether or not they rebuke his advances is not the point.

No one expects to be sexually harassed in the work place regardless of the subject matter they are working with



sorry, this isn't particularly articulate. Reading Terry's letter where he plays victim just annoys the hell out of me and I am just writing the first thing that comes to mind


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15-03-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TREVOFASHIONISTO View Post
i think its because these girls are usually new models who don't want to get attention for being the girl to press charges against a worldwide famous photographer. It sounds silly but it seems as though the only ones who come forward are models who are already established or have careers that never really kicked off.
Not only that but to press charges when you're a young girl with no money against someone with lots of money and influence like Terry is just asking for trouble. The amount of suing and libel cases and whatever Terry's lawyers decide to throw at said girl would at least be stressful for years and at the most even be life-ruining, which is also probably why he targets not-very-well-known models with little-to-no-money in the first place.
And of course the release they signed may also change things. I bet almost none of them read it. They could very well have written consent to all the things Terry made them do and as such, the only way they can strike back is to go to the media.

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15-03-2014
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There are reasons not to go to police/lawyers; however, charges might do something?

The sad thing is, the appeals to the media thus far - and they've been going on for a few years now - have made little-to-no difference. Not yet anyhow.

I signed the change.org petition, probably many of us did. It presently has over 30,000 signatures. But of course "big brands" and magazines still use him. Stars and models with huge clout still flock to him. This includes break out stars like Lupita and long-time model favourites like Kate Moss. In fact he's expanded into music videos and makes gazillions of dollars.

Currently there is a move asking consumers to stop buying anything in which he's had a part - ad campaigns, music videos/album covers, and editorials, mean no shopping with that brand, no listening to/watching or buying that music, and no buying those magazines. This is a more concrete form of action and it may (?) actually lead to some change.

http://omgthatdress.tumblr.com/post/...y-surprised-to

But stories on the web build up and die down in waves, and it's possible that's what'll happen here.

We'll have to wait and see.

On what I think is a positive note, according the The Cut (see final line in article), Waters is planning to press charges! I think that could have immediate ramifications and real effects.

http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/03/anot...s-forward.html

Maybe both things taken together, i.e., first women who've had these experiences talking to the media, and now, potentially, one of them pressing charges (which may lead to more of them pressing charges), will result in change.

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16-03-2014
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This paragraph in Flavorwire's rebuttal to Terry Richardson's letter just about sums it up:

Quote:
Richardson is keen to cast blame on the internet for what he calls an “on-going quest for controversy-generated page views, sloppy journalism fueled by sensationalized, malicious, and manipulative re-countings of this work.” But, predictably enough, he makes no effort to address exactly why he considers the journalism here has been sloppy. Indeed, he doesn’t engage with the accusations at all, instead relying on nebulous statements about witch hunts and rumors. (He also suggests they are libelous, which rather raises the question of why he doesn’t put his money where his mouth is and sue, if he really believes this.)

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16-03-2014
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^the accusation is that he abuses his power over the girls, isn´t it?
then he does engage in that: "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, and as such"

we can argue that his work is demeaning and gross but I don´t think that´s the issue here. if he treated the girls like he claims then it doesn´t matter the nature of his work.

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17-03-2014
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^^^ Yes, he does legally address them.

Richardson's statement is obviously carefully constructed with the legality of all the accusations in mind. Of course he's not going to address the specific accusations-- that's shooting himself in the foot, and such specifics could even be used against him should there be (further) legal actions from the accusers.

I get the impression Richardson's shoots are pumping with a party vibe, and he's an explicit, very sexual individual that may also be fun and charming to these girls caught up in the moment, rather than coming across predatory. And before they know it, they're doing inappropriate things-- inappropriate in a professional setting, but maybe because of the party vibe at Richardson's shoots, they're lead into a false sense of security and for that moment, don't feel it's inappropriate. I think all of us have been in a similar situation in which we're caught up in the moment, only to regret it in hindsight, so I understand why these girls may not have come forward right away.

If that's the case, Richardson is still in the wrong since he's the famous, adult professional, and these are young, inexperience women looking to him for direction and guidance in their "collaboration". Richardson needs to take responsibility as a working professional, and restrain from hitting on these girls during work. Jeez.

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17-03-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lefemmenikita View Post
That letter just .....

First, Richardson is missing the point entirely.

The models coming forward aren't complaining simply about the nature of his photography (overtly sexual,etc), they are complaining about what goes on in the process of creating his photos.

As a number of them have pointed out, such as Jamie Peck;Charlotte Waters,etc, they have no qualms about posing nude.

They do however draw the lines with unwanted sexual advances. Whether or not they rebuke his advances is not the point.

No one expects to be sexually harassed in the work place regardless of the subject matter they are working with



sorry, this isn't particularly articulate. Reading Terry's letter where he plays victim just annoys the hell out of me and I am just writing the first thing that comes to mind

I'm really really not trying to offend anyone here because I think he is completely gross..but in this story how can he know the sexual advances are unwanted? This wasn't some poor teenager from Eastern Europe, it was a 19 year old model from New York. Terry's sexual harassment stories have been in the media so many times at this point that it seems difficult that anyone could know of 'him and his aesthetic' as she quotes and not what goes along with it. The girl did not say no even one time and it seems like it must have went on for a decent amount of time with all the things that happened. This is a very different workplace than a regular one, people know the types of things that go on in the industry. Do we know that if she said she no one time that he wouldn't have stopped immediately?

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17-03-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsamg View Post
I'm really really not trying to offend anyone here because I think he is completely gross..but in this story how can he know the sexual advances are unwanted? This wasn't some poor teenager from Eastern Europe, it was a 19 year old model from New York. Terry's sexual harassment stories have been in the media so many times at this point that it seems difficult that anyone could know of 'him and his aesthetic' as she quotes and not what goes along with it. The girl did not say no even one time and it seems like it must have went on for a decent amount of time with all the things that happened. This is a very different workplace than a regular one, people know the types of things that go on in the industry. Do we know that if she said she no one time that he wouldn't have stopped immediately?
It is a workplace regardless of how "different" it is, and it needs changes like many other workplaces have taken. Sexual conduct is not appropriate in any work situation, and it being the norm in the fashion industry does not make it okay as you suggest.

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and here is where he wins imo, when people starts blaming the victim or doubting her. no one wants to be a willing participant of their own abuse and we dont know what exactly went in these girls' minds at the time but just because they didnt say no doesnt mean that Terry isnt accountable.

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17-03-2014
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It's just so sad that people are more willing to side with Terry then the countless women who've spoken up about his behavior. It says quite a bit about our society doesn't it? That we are so quick to blame those who speak up about abuse and sexual harassment rather then the perpetrators. It is so, so important to remember that it takes a lot of courage to speak out against an abuser and then to experience victim blaming after the fact, it is just horrible. Honestly, I don't like Terry, for the most part I find his that work is not exciting (and a bit exploitive in nature too), however it is more then just about his work. It is about he treats the women whom he is suppose to be collaborating with. Consent is about ensuring that both parties are in an environment which is comfortable and non-exploititve. And from the sound of things, Terry's sets never provided an environment which treated these models fairly.

I would be really interested in seeing a model (or a group of models) create lawsuit against him. Sadly, I think that it is not just about boycotting and calling out his behavior (although these are very important too), it is about holding him accountable for his actions. And if he did sexually harass these women, well then, he ought to face the court in a workplace sexual harassment suit. Perhaps this would lead to more changes in the ways that models are protected and represented in the fashion industry too.

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18-03-2014
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News : seems like stylist Leslie Lessin played a big role in some degrading pictures

http://www.vocativ.com/underworld/se...-partner-perv/

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26-03-2014
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Quote:
Photographer Terry Richardson’s Pervy Behavior and Phony Defense

Fetish fashion photographer gets off on violating boundaries

By Jamie Peck | 3/24/14 12:54pm

Four years ago, I wrote a firsthand account of my dealings with fashion photographer Terry Richardson in an attempt to clarify an ongoing debate about whether he’d been abusing his position of power to coerce sexual favors from young models. By writing my story, I hoped to move on from the experience and remove any benefit of the doubt people might be giving him about how he obtained his most explicit images: at least in my experience, not with prior informed consent from all parties involved, but via manipulative bait-and-switch tactics he’d seemingly been honing for years. By signing my name to my story, I hoped to legitimize it as something weightier than anonymous Internet hearsay. Perhaps most importantly, I wanted to warn other girls about how he operates, because his modus operandi was not yet common knowledge.

Since then, I’ve been called a liar, a famewhore and a malicious writer of “revisionist history.” I’ve come to the unpleasant realization, via photos, that there are things that happened that day that my brain won’t let me remember. I’ve had numerous Richardson-related nightmares. I’ve lost at least one steady-ish (albeit low-paying) freelance gig. I’ve had colleagues I once looked up to—people whose job it is to speak truth to power—tell me I had no right to tell that story or blame anyone but myself for what had happened. Meanwhile, Mr. Richardson has continued on his merry way, shooting pictures of Beyonce and Lady Gaga, garnering a lighthearted profile in The New York Times, and nailing a succession of young, reluctant-but-not-technically-raped girls with impunity.

And yet, the story hasn’t gone away. It seems like every year around its anniversary, someone’s asking me to comment on some newly surfaced nastiness. Others who’ve signed their names to firsthand accounts of his poor on-the-job behavior include Liskula Cohen, Sarah Hilker, Coco Rocha, Sara Ziff and, most recently, former art student/nude model Charlotte Waters, whose story resembles my own to an eerie degree despite having happened five years later. Lena Dunham has said she regrets shooting with him. A movement to boycott publications and brands that work with Mr. Richardson is gathering steam, from the #nomoreterry hashtag to the Change.org petition, which links to some very NSFW examples of Mr. Richardson’s “work” on nudeimagehost.com. When the Model Alliance formed, one of the first things it did was set up a system to report sexual harassment and assault, and its members have worked to win models the basic protections that most other kinds of workers take for granted. I’ve seen heartwarming displays of resistance and solidarity from people all over the world.

This all must finally be making a dent in his bookings, or at least his reputation, because Mr. Richardson recently deigned to respond to the allegations at length, for the first time, in a letter published by Huffington Post. I was initially content to let others, like Flavorwire’s Tom Hawking, explain with great eloquence why he’s full of ****; believe it or not, it’s not my favorite subject to discuss. But as time passed I felt the need to chime in, because seriously, **** this guy.

Mr. Richardson begins by calling the whole brouhaha “a cycle of Internet gossip and false accusations against me.” Another word he throws around is “libelous.” If he really thinks I’ve libeled him, he’s welcome to sue me for the $1,043.67 that currently resides in my bank account. But then I’d counter-sue him for libel as well, because I stake my livelihood as a writer of non-fiction on people trusting me to tell the truth.

He purports to want to correct the rumors, then goes off on a grandiose tangent situating himself as heir to the artistic legacy of Helmut Newton and Robert Mapplethorpe. Like so many before him, he uses “I’m an artist!” as a blank check to do as he likes, missing the point by about a mile. It’s not his art that’s being attacked, but how he goes about making it. It’s just as possible to sexually harass people while making still lifes, snow tires, or office furniture as it is making “challenging artporn” or whatever he calls his work. I won’t get into how deeply unchallenging to the status quo I find his images, because like I said, it’s irrelevant.

He never explains exactly what we’re lying about, except to say (emphasis mine):

“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, and as such, it has been difficult to see myself as a target of revisionist history. Sadly, in the on-going quest for controversy-generated page views, sloppy journalism fueled by sensationalized, malicious, and manipulative recountings of this work has given rise to angry Internet crusades. Well-intentioned or not, they are based on lies. Believing such rumors at face value does a disservice not only to the spirit of artistic endeavor, but most importantly, to the real victims of exploitation and abuse.”

Let’s break this down:

Neither Charlotte Waters nor I was aware that “the nature of the work” was for him to whip his condom-less dick out and see how far he could push us. When you sign up for a nude shoot, the “nature of the work” is generally just that: a nude shoot. During my time as a naked girl for hire, I worked with plenty of other photographers who managed to be perfectly professional; if anything, they went overboard to make sure I felt comfortable, as any decent human being should.

If he really wants to make sure his models are “aware of the nature of the work,” why not sit down with them beforehand and talk about what they will and won’t do, as is standard in the American porn industry? Why not put out an ad specifically looking for women who are comfortable getting facials on camera? Lord knows there are plenty of them! Why not have models sign releases after the shoot, not before as is his wont? Why not hold himself to a standard of enthusiastic consent, and not just the absence of a firm no? Why not do everything a man in his position can do to make sure girls aren’t coming away from his studio with symptoms of PTSD?

Answer: because he gets off on violating boundaries. Either that, or he’s delusional enough to think that the girls he shoots are all having tons of fun with him. But if that were the case, shouldn’t he feel guilty instead of angry to learn he wildly misread multiple women’s experiences? The bare minimum of consent required to stay out of jail is not an appropriate yardstick by which to deem one’s actions ethical. (There’s a separate, bigger-picture conversation to be had about whether even unambiguous consent magically makes something exempt from critical examination.)

In the absence of any specific disputes, we’re left to assume Mr. Richardson is not challenging the basic facts of what happened, but only how his “collaborators” felt about it at the time. In Terryworld, girls have a great time letting him jizz on their faces, then say we were coerced to avoid feeling like sluts afterwards (nevermind the countless slutty acts I enthusiastically catalogued during my time as a sex blogger). In essence, he’s purporting to know our minds better than we do. It’s not so different from when his buddy Gavin McInnes says women are “naturally” happiest as homemakers because he said so, or when any number of conservative politicans say women who engage in non-procreative sex are disrespecting themselves.

One doesn’t have to make explicit offers or threats to benefit from an uneven power dynamic. That’s why we have sexual harassment laws (for everyone but models, anyway). In the case of castings, the offer of work is implicit. Especially when a girl’s agency has instructed her to make the guy happy at all costs and sent her there without a chaperone. I have heard stories of people who made the opposite decision—who said no—and just like that, the casting was over. We need these standards to protect the girls who say no just as much as the ones who say yes. Nobody should be forced to make that kind of decision, even if they are technically making it of their own “free will.” Contrary to what Atlas Shrugged might have taught you, just because you’re free to choose between a set of bad options doesn’t mean you’re truly free.

And don’t get me started on Leslie Lessin, the assistant/enabler who helps Terry Richardson do all this. A stylist by trade, Leslie Lessin’s main purpose on Terry’s clothes-free shoots, as far as I can tell, is to make the girls feel like they’re lame prudes if they don’t do all the super cool sex acts she and Terry are requesting. Then she does damage control afterwards if the girl seems upset, like a real-life Effie Trinket. It’s easy to see how the presence of an older woman on set would create a false sense of security; it’s harder to see how any woman could justify helping Uncle Terry stick his bare penis in girls fresh out of high school. I mean, I’m only 29 and I feel extremely protective toward girls who are on their own for the first time, probably because I remember what that’s like and how crazy it can be. And also because I’m not a monster. I want them to learn and grow and try and fail and go after the sex they want to have, not the sex they begrudgingly submit to because someone impressive starts doing it to them and they don’t want to be rude.

While I might seem angry, I’m not without sympathy for the man; my best guess as to what drives his behavior is that, damaged by the emotional abuse of his mother and the sexual abuse of other adult women—both of which he’s discussed in interviews, though not exactly in those terms—as well as rejection by female peers in high school, he’s taking out unresolved issues on an endless succession of girls fed to him by an unregulated industry. But that hardly justifies his actions.

It boils down to this: you don’t have to be dumb to be manipulated by a powerful sociopath. As long as structures are in place that allow this to happen, it’s going to keep happening, and Terry Richardson is only one example. But the tide is turning against men like him, so hopefully most people will see his letter for what it is: an attempt to throw a thin smokescreen of excuses over some truly unjustifiable ****.
The New Yorker

Read more at http://observer.com/2014/03/the-true...hardsons-work/

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