Lea Michele is the latest celeb to strike a sultry pose for the always-controversial photographer Terry Richardson. It seems that for every model or celebrity who continues to work with the legendary creep, there is someone who refuses to do so again.
When Huffpost Live sat down with models Sara Ziff and Alise Shoemaker from Model Alliance, a nonprofit for models’ legal rights, the conversation immediately went to Richardson’s ability to thrive in the fashion industry, despite numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.
“I think almost every model has had an encounter with him, whether it be good or bad. I would say the majority are complaints,” Shoemaker said.
Shoemaker went on to talk about how agencies pressure models to make a “good impression” when meeting photographers like Richardson, which can lead to “ a lot of regrets.”
“It goes beyond taking off your top,” Ziff added. We are talking serious allegations of sexual assault and abuse. I have worked with Terry Richardson several times, and I wouldn’t work with him again based on those experiences.”
When asked to elaborate, Ziff gave an example of what can go on at one of his castings.
“I haven’t worked with him in a while. I don’t know if he is still doing this,” she said before continuing.
“You are going to a casting to possibly shoot with him for Harper’s BAZAAR, whose one of his clients. That’s a legitimate job, and he will ask you to take your clothes off for the casting and in some cases give him sexual favors. I have spoken with other models who have been in these situations, and he makes you feel like you’re being a prude or you are somehow weird if you are not willing to just go with the flow because it’s all cool. It’s all fine.”
We can all agree that this is despicable behavior for anyone in a powerful position, but a large issue for models is the fact that they are considered “independent contractors,” meaning they are not legally protected from sexual harassment. Model Alliance members currently have access to Model Alliance Support, a service that allows models to report these issues.
“The choice between an uncomfortable sexual situation and your job, that’s the definition of sexual harassment,” Ziff said. “That happens frequently in our industry.”
Lea Michele Sheds ‘Grandma’ Image By Posing for Terry Richardson
Terry Richardson and Audrey Gelman Break Up, All Is Right in the World
Should Terry Richardson Be Guilty Until Proven Innocent? [Updated]