Following a lawsuit and a New York Times exposé – published this year – Bruce Weber is once again the subject of a sexual misconduct lawsuit, filed Friday. This second lawsuit contains “strikingly similar allegations” to the first one writes Lisa Bloom, attorney for the plaintiffs, in a statement shared in a Diet Prada Instagram story.
The five new male models have come forward to claim that the photographer Bruce Weber exploited or sexually assaulted them, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in New York.
The five plaintiffs, who are referred to by initials in the lawsuit, were all aspiring models at the time of their interactions with Weber. The complaint calls Weber a “serial sexual predator” and says he conducted “breathing exercises” at both photo shoots and at his private home studio, in which he touched the men and insinuated that he could help their careers if they complied. It describes the exchanges as a form of fraud.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs also describe Weber’s actions as sex trafficking, after a judge in a lawsuit alleging sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein ruled that the Trafficking Victims Protection Act could apply to “casting couch” scenarios.
“It’s considered a commercial sex act because the person who applied is hoping to get a job,” said Lisa Bloom, of the Bloom Firm, which represents the five models.
Jayne Weintraub, a lawyer for Weber, called the new allegations against him “outrageous.” She wrote in an email: “Bruce Weber has never lured, recruited, or forced anyone to do anything and has never inappropriately touched a model. This lawsuit is nothing more than a media-hungry lawyer’s attempt to extort Mr. Weber with false, fictitious and legally frivolous claims. We are confident that Mr. Weber will prevail against these false allegations; not just with words, but with evidence in a court of law.”
In January, The New York Times published accusations by 15 current and former male models that Weber abused his position and his influence to manipulate them. They also described “breathing exercises” in which Mr. Weber touched them and compelled them to touch themselves, and ostracism and lost opportunities when they did not comply with his requests.
After the allegations in January, Weber largely withdrew from the public eye. Condé Nast said that it would no longer work with Mr. Weber or with the photographer Mario Testino, who was also accused of sexual exploitation, “for the foreseeable future.” This summer Mr. Weber began what appeared to be a quiet re-entry into the fashion world.