A month or so ago, Terry Richardson was shunned by Vogue and the press world was abuzz trying to piece together if Richardson had actually sent the “sex in exchange for Vogue shoot” Facebook message to model Emma Appleton. This is not the new norm. Richardson is known for asking sexual favors of his models and them putting up with it.
However, that period of time seems to be over. Dozens of allegations are popping up left and right since a profile on the famed photographer came out on Sunday on the cover of New York. The Cut posted a few of said allegations, and they are haunting to say the least. Check it out for yourself. You you decide if Richardson is truly an artist, or a predator.
Anna del Gaizo wrote about her experience posing for Richardson in 2008 for Jezebel.
Richardson didn’t even shoot any of the photos. His assistant held the camera and pressed the buttons, while he gave direction. At first, I simple stood in front of the white wall, making goofy faces, then I moved around, vamped it up. He suggested I show my “tits.” I’m not against nudity by any means, so again the answer was, “Sure. Why not!” He entered the shot for a few photos. Then, as I was kind of crouched down posing, I suddenly felt his semi-hard penis pressing very hard into the right side of my face. No warning whatsoever. (I had been looking straight ahead at the camera, evidently too distracted to notice him whip it out beforehand.) He pressed it to my open mouth, giggling. Leslie smiled, saying something to the effect of “Isn’t this fun?” He wanted a blow job, and he wanted it documented.
Disgusted and unnerved as I was, I smiled and laughed back as she continued snapping pictures for a few moments. I didn’t want to act afraid; I was outnumbered, and I thought showing fear or outright shock would lead to something worse. I just knew I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. I stood up, fixed my bra, muttered something about having to get back to the party, and jetted out of there, returning to Delicatessen to down a vodka soda and try to forget that I had just gotten totally taken advantage of like a naïve schoolgirl.
Model Sena Cech told BuzzFeed that a source’s claims that she had “instigated” sexual contact with Richardson were “a flat-out lie.”
I was completely taken off guard. I was not warned that I would be expected to pose nude or engage in any sexual activity at the casting. [Richardson’s assistant] Leslie Lessin then asked me to grab his penis and twist it really hard. I was worried about getting dirty and about hurting Richardson, but he just pushed his penis into my hand and I halfheartedly twisted it and pulled it for a few pictures. Then I asked if they had the shot and went to wash my hands and get dressed. I did not instigate the penis twisting, nudity or any kind of sexual touching. The experience was not consensual. It was revolting and humiliating.
In The Guardian, Jamie Peck, one of the first women to speak out against Richardson, described discovering herself in sexually explicit photos she didn’t remember posing for.
This was not entirely unexpected. A little while before that, I came across a photo of Richardson reaching out to grab my breast. It jogged a vague memory of “Uncle Terry” groping me without asking — something I was always terrified would happen when I was modeling for Guys With Cameras — but which I didn’t precisely recall happening in the shoot I wrote about. It made me wonder what else I wasn’t remembering.
It was not a very good feeling to have, least of all when I’d already spoken at length about my experience in the belief that I was telling the absolute truth. I worried what conclusions Wallace would draw for his readers. My conclusions would, I figured, be somewhat different: trauma — particularly sexual trauma — affects memory, often in ways that allow predators to traumatize their victims while simultaneously rendering them unreliable witnesses to their own lives.