Terry Richardson has never been one to fear controversy. Recently, the famous New York fashion photographer has been making headlines not for his work but for a movement to get large brands and fashion publications to stop using Richardson as their photographer. Terry Richardson is known for his fashion photography style that uses sexuality and nudity with a film photography aesthetic. The petition to end his reign in the fashion world deplores his overly sexual, and some say, almost pornographic depictions of his subjects (who are many times underage) and for his questionable behavior on set.
Several supermodels, including, Coco Rocha, Jamie Peck, and Rie Rasmussen, have come forward to the public about the unprofessional and sexual harassment they received from Terry Richardson when modeling for him. Throughout his career in the fashion industry, there have been several first-hand reports of sexually inappropriate behavior from Terry but many models and fashion insiders fear bringing the iconic photographer to court. Terry Richardson holds a lot of sway in the fashion world, having shot for Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, H&M and Mango. Model Jamie Peck, worked with Terry Richardson at the age of 19 and claims to have been sexually abused by the photographer. She claims that he had her pose nude and then he undressed and coerced her into preforming a sexual act on him. A sexual act performed due to coercion is considered rape by most state laws in the US. In the words of Jamie Peck, “If you do a thought experiment and replace the fashion workplace with any other workplace, and the boss whipped out his d*** and demanded sexual favors or you don’t get to have that job anymore, that would be very clear to people that that’s sexual harassment and that guy could get sued. I don’t see how this is any different”.
So will the Change.org petition against Terry Richardson affect his career? As of the publishing date of this article, the global petition against Richardson has over 8,000 signatures. Retailer, H&M, responded via Twitter to the petition, stating, “If these accusations are true, it’s totally unacceptable to us. Currently we’re not working with Terry Richardson”. The response shows a possible turn in the tides for Richardson’s power in the fashion world but don’t count him out yet. In the words of Elizabeth Paton, correspondent for the Financial Times, “The reality is, until editors stop using him for covers, until Hollywood stars stop picking him as a photographer or a videographer for their shoots, he’ll stay the way [he is]”.