The Weinstein scandal has become a brutal game of Jenga with women ripping man-shaped pieces from their perches, making each fall faster and harder than the last. Photographer Terry Richardson is the latest tower piece to tumble…
He’s been labelled as one of the most controversial photographers ever and accusations of harassment and sexual misconduct have dogged his career for years. Now the seedy man with the camera has become another bloodstained body on the road to end authoritative abuse of power over women. In an email sent on Monday, executive vice president of publishing giant Condé Nast called for all commissioned and unpublished work of Richardson to be “killed” immediately, as the disgraced photographer’s content will no longer be used in any of their publications – including Vogue, GQ, Glamor, and Vanity Fair.
It appears the culmination of years of misbehaviour have led to this decision rather than one recent event. Tricks and misdemeanours have been documented and used against Richardson including models Gabriela Johansson’s, for whom English is a second language, claim that Richardson disguised a ‘consent’ form for topless photographs as a ‘sign-in’ form, and Jamie Peck’s accusations that she was encouraged to engage in a sex act with him during a shoot. Three years after this allegation Peck asked,
What does this say about the fashion industry as a whole that so many people have let him and other, sneakier people get away with this for so long?
It says that a) there are too many men in authoritative roles in the arts, and b) these guys are stuck in the ‘great artist’ mindset: that because they’re producing art, their behaviour is acceptable. In 2017 this mindset is archaic, not to mention that there has never been anything socially acceptable about objectifying women. A camera does not disguise this fact or work as a get-out-jail-free card for those arrogant enough to try it! But still we have men wanting to be the new Hitchcock or Kubrick and going completely the wrong way about it. On the set of The Birds, Hitchcock deliberately traumatised actress Tippi Hedren by locking her in a closet and throwing dead birds at her so she would look scared enough for the climactic final scene. The Shining saw Shelley Duval take a major health battering as Kubrick harangued her with abuse and took no notice when her hair started to fall out. These are the horror stories of ‘great artists’ that we do get to hear, think about how many there must be about sexual misconduct, harassment, and abuse that are just swept under the rug!
It’s obvious that the camera is being used as a filter, distorting the image and making it unrecognisable as an act of assault. The horrific scene from Fame where Irene Cara is filmed topless by an amateur filmmaker is too real an imitation of life – it’s clear the tower of arrogant artistic men must topple faster!