x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Models accuse photographers Weber, Testino of sex misconduct

Representatives for both photographers said they were dismayed and surprised by the allegations.

This combination of 2008 and 2017 photos shows photographers Bruce Weber, left, and Mario Testino. The New York Times reported that male models have accused Weber and Testino of unwanted advances and coercion. AP
This combination of 2008 and 2017 photos shows photographers Bruce Weber, left, and Mario Testino. The New York Times reported that male models have accused Weber and Testino of unwanted advances and coercion. AP

In a sweeping new sexual misconduct investigation, The New York Times reported on Saturday that several male models have accused famed photographers Bruce Weber and Mario Testino of unwanted advances and coercion.

Fifteen current and former models told the Times that Weber's demands often occurred during photo shoots and other private sessions. Thirteen assistants and models accused Testino, the Times reported.

Weber's racy advertisements for Calvin Klein, Abercrombie & Fitch and other companies helped turn him into a star in commercial and fine art photography.

Testino, adored by celebrities, glossy magazines including Vogue and younger members of the British royal family, was accused of groping and making sexual come-ons, the newspaper said.

Allegations against both date back many years, with accusers in some cases recounting details with remarkable consistency, the Times said.

Representatives for both photographers said they were dismayed and surprised by the allegations.

"I'm completely shocked and saddened by the outrageous claims being made against me, which I absolutely deny," Weber said in a statement from his lawyer.

The law firm Lavely & Singer, representing Testino, challenged the character and credibility of people who complained of harassment.

Testino's attorney, Andrew Brettler, said in an email to The Associated Press late on Saturday, "We are not providing any further comment at this time."

Model Ryan Locke worked with Testino on Gucci ad campaigns and called him a "sexual predator." He told the Times that when he told other models he was going to meet Testino for a possible casting "everyone started making these jokes — they said he was notorious."

Former assistants said Testino had a pattern of hiring young, heterosexual men and subjecting them to increasingly aggressive advances.

"Sexual harassment was a constant reality," said Roman Barrett, an assistant to Testino in the late 1990s.

Several industries have been rocked by sexual-abuse allegations since women started coming forward to complain about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who has apologised for causing colleagues "a lot of pain" but has denied "any allegations of non-consensual sex."

Revelations of abuse often have faded away in the fashion industry. Recently, photographer Terry Richardson continued to work after being accused in a documentary of sexual assault of female models and denying their claims — until the Weinstein scandal broke.

Conde Nast, which publishes Vogue and other top magazines, said it would stop working with Weber and Testino, at least for now.

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