Earlier this week, we wrote a post commenting on Terry Richardson‘s porn-inspired take on Glee for GQ magazine. While we called the photos about as exciting as “week-old bread”, more than a few others — including the Parents Television Council — have called them “disturbing” and bordering on “pedophilia.” The controversy has gotten so bad that Dianna Agron wrote a post half-apologizing for the photos, and that sucks.
Here’s the deal: we have a not so subtle bias against Richardson, both because of his alleged off-camera antics and because his brand of color-saturated, orally fixated photos are uninspired and, at this point in his one-note career, incredibly boring. And with this spread for GQ, Richardson played that same note again, photographing 20-something actresses romping around in athletic socks and underpants and playing the part of a pair of amped-up high-school Lolitas.
And people are upset because these 20-something actresses play high school teenagers on television, which means that these photos are potentially confusing for children (and apparently adults) who won’t understand that Cory Monteith is actually a 28-year-old high school drop-out.
Dianna Agron took to her Tumblr to address the issue in what isn’t quite an apology, but instead a nuanced explanation of her decision and thoughts on the controversy.
I am twenty-four years old. I have been a pretty tame and easy-going girl my whole life. Nobody is perfect, and these photos do not represent who I am. I am also not the girl who rolls out of bed with flawless makeup and couture clothing. I am most comfortable with my hair thrown on top of my head, in sweats, laughing with my friends. Glee is a show that represents the underdogs, which is a feeling I have embraced much of my own life, and to those viewers, the photos in GQ don’t give them that same feeling. I understand completely.
Agron also says that Richardson’s vision wasn’t her “favorite idea” but admits that she didn’t walk away from it. Agron’s response is both mature and fair– she acknowledges that children today are “subject to very adult material at the click of a button” but argues that parents still have the agency and ability to instill their own boundaries. “And if your eight-year-old has a copy of our GQ cover in hand, again I am sorry,” she concedes. “But I would have to ask, how on earth did it get there?”
Michele, Monteith, and Fox have yet to comment, while GQ editor in chief Jim Nelson wishes the Parents Television Council would “learn to divide reality from fantasy.”
The worst part of all this is the fact that this sort of controversy is exactly what Richardson wanted — and we can’t help but wish he’d had to work a little harder to get it.