Condé Nast International has blacklisted photographer Terry Richardson, The Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday morning. Condé Nast’s decision is overdue: Sexual misconduct allegations have dogged Richardson, who regularly placed work in Vogue, for well over a decade.
With Richardson, as with Harvey Weinstein, everyone knew. “Big on blowjobs, Mr. Richardson seemed to want everyone to know that he had more spume in him than a creature out of Melville,” The New York Observer reported in 2004. It also said of his college-age intern, “When Mr. Richardson thought it might be cool to pose as the back end of a horse costume, it was Alex who went down below and urged him to the finish line.” (Richardson later married the intern.)
In 2010, Jezebel published a series of allegations from models and other fashion industry professionals that articulated the extent of Richardson’s predations. Verbal abuse; sexual coercion; public masturbation; there was nothing, apparently, that Richardson wouldn’t try:
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.”
Yet Richardson’s career continued. Magazines still booked him. Celebrities still posed with him. And so he retained access to a steady supply of young and vulnerable women. Richardson, of course, denies wrongdoing. “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,” he said in a statement. He also bemoaned his victimization by a “revisionist history.” If only that victimization had happened sooner!