[Terry Richardson Instagram]
He’s the celebrity photographer who has shot everyone from Jennifer Aniston to Beyonce. Yet Terry Richardson is now at the centre of explosive allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct with models.
The rumours first surfaced four years ago, with models coming forward with graphic accounts of the abuse they allegedly suffered at his hands. One anonymous model revealed, ‘If you talk about him openly, you never work again’, and another claimed she had a Skype conversation with him where he called her ‘brainless’ for saying she won’t sleep with him to get work.
The much-feted photographer finally broke his silence on Friday in a letter posted on the Huffington Post entitled ‘Correcting the Rumours’. While not denying sexual activity had taken place, he insisted it was all consensual.
And explaining why he’d waited four years to respond, he wrote, ‘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.’
The allegations are just the latest in a string of claims that Richardson has made sexual advances to young models. Rie Rasmussen, a Danish model, confronted Richardson at a Paris event and accused him of exploiting young models in vulnerable positions. She told the New York Post, ‘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.’
A Twitter campaign against Terry Richardson - #NoMoreTerry - is gathering pace, encouraging people to boycott the magazines and artists who have worked with him.
In his letter, Richardson added, ‘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.’