More fashion models, including RJ King, Myla Dalbesio and Madisyn Ritland, have come forward with stories of abuse and harassment at the hands of several prominent photographers and other fashion industry professionals in a report by The Boston Globe. For the story, the Globe‘s investigative team spoke to more than 50 models, both female and male. While many of them chose to remain anonymous for fears of reprisal, the Globe reported that almost 60 percent of the models they spoke to claimed they have “been touched inappropriately during work-related situation.”
The accusations range from forcible touching and sexually aggressive comments made on set to rape. Patrick Demarchelier, one of the industry’s top lensmen who was Princess Diana’s unofficial personal photographer, was accused of groping on set and making suggestive comments. One of the photographer’s former assistants also claimed that she felt pressured into sleeping with him in order to keep her job. Demarchelier, now 74, denied the allegations, telling the Globe, “People lie and they tell stories. It’s ridiculous.” Other men mentioned in the story also denied the accusations, though the Globe‘s investigative team reports that they verified the accounts with third parties and through other means, like e-mail archives. Greg Kadel, a photographer who often worked with Victoria’s Secret, was also accused of multiple accounts of harassment and abuse. Victoria’s Secret said the brand is conducting an internal investigation into the allegations. The lingerie company also cut ties with another photographer named in the report, David Bellemer, after several of the Angels reportedly complained of his behavior on set.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Condé Nast, the parent company of W and other magazines like Vogue and Allure, said, “We have informed Patrick we will not be working with him for the foreseeable future.” The company announced a new code of conduct governing photo shoots across the globe in January.
Additionally, the fashion label Calvin Klein told the Globe that the company will be unveiling their own new guidelines in the coming weeks, and luxury conglomerates LVMH and Kering, which collectively own some of the world’s top luxury labels, have also joined forces to create a new model charter. Meanwhile, the nonprofit Model Alliance has supported a proposed bill known as the Models’ Harassment Protection Act in New York. A group known as Model Mafia has also sprung up to to encourage more grassroots reforms that focus on models helping other models, including a database for reviews of specific photographers as a way to warn other models, and implementing safeguards like onset buddy systems. The modeling agencies named in the report did not comment.
The accusation against Demarchelier follow longstanding allegations levied against Terry Richardson, and more recently disclosed reports of abuse of male models made against photographers Bruce Weber and Mario Testino.