In 2010 accusations against fashion photographer Terry Richardson began after model Rie Rasmussen made serious allegations against him. Richardson would use his power in the fashion industry to manipulate his models to take nude photographs of them. Since jezebel.com called out victims to share their stories, more models - mostly anonymous - came forward with allegations. It has gone so far that now a petition at change.org has started to urge big brands to cut ties with the fashion photographer. Experiences of some models that accuse him with sexual harrasment say that Richardson would unexpectedly strip naked during his shootings and would ask his models to take pictures of him while he is touching them. Already in 2004 ''The Guardian'' - which describes his photography style as ''soft porn'' - published an interview with Richardson where he makes similar statements to the experiences the models made during a shooting with him. 'My rule is that I'd never ask anyone to do anything I wouldn't do myself,' he said, 'that's how it's got to go this far. At first, I'd just want to do a few nude shots, so I'd take off my clothes, too. I'd even give the camera to the model and get her to shoot me for a while. It's about creating a vibe, getting people relaxed and excited. When that happens, you can do anything.' Moreover on the site http://oldterry.tumblr.com/, which is taken down currently, were found pornographic images which are more than just disturbing.
Celebrities like Madonna, Beyoncé', Lady Gaga, Kate Moss and even the American feminist Marie Steinem and president Obama have been shot by Richardson. He does the campaign shootings for companies like H&M and Mango, his work is published in fashion magazines such as Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. It is terrifying what kind of sense of responsibility agencies have to send their young models for a shooting to him and also what kind of recklessness it is from the companies and magazines still to work with him and thereby ignore these scandals. Lately the situation of Terry Richardson has always been an open secret in the fashion industry. According to jezebel.com one fashion insider says agencies "know full well Richardson's predatory behavior," but that he "is tolerated because the industry folk are just sheep. There are only a handful of photographers who have the power, a handful of editors who have the power, and a handful of clients who have the power. Everyone else just follows this small group of people."; and those people in power, "the women, need to take their responsibility for what happens to the girls because by booking him, they are tacitly giving their approval that whatever he does is OK." Fact is that Richardson will still stay powerful as long as the companies keep on working with him and the magazines keep on publishing his photographs. It is sad that people look up to editors and celebrities that demask themselves as supporters of sexual harassment and it is kind of a tragicomedy that people who are working in a multi-billion-dollar industry have become the puppets of a sex offender.
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