Screen-Shot-2014-03-13-at-12.32.20-PMLast night I got an email from our good friends behind the brilliant movie MissRepresentation (which everyone must watch, if you haven’t seen) about a new Change.Org petition urging big brands to stop working with famous photographer and infamous misogynistic, predatory creep Terry Richardson. Richardson, a photographer who has shot numerous campaigns, photographed numerous famous people, including President Barack Obama, and coerced numerous young models into sexual activities, is one of the most sought after photographers in the world. From the email I received:

This week, yet another model came forward with allegations that Richardson sexually harassed and assaulted her during a photo shoot. She shares that, at 19, she felt ”nervous and paralyzed” while he asked her to perform increasingly demeaning sexual acts in front of the camera. Not only has the man popularized a distinct form of objectification in photography – blurring the lines between pornography and fashion - but Richardson has repeatedly been accused of taking advantage of young women who see working with him as a path to success in the modeling industry.

The instance this is referring to was on Huffington Post live, where model Jamie Peck revealed this story: Jamie Peck modeled for Richardson at 19 and later recounted how he had her pose naked, then took his clothes off and convinced her to give him a handjob while his set assistants watched. Said Peck on HuffPost Live:

“If you do a thought experiment and replace the fashion workplace with any other workplace, and the boss whipped out his dick 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.”

The email concludes with:

Terry Richardson’s misogyny is a well-known fact in the fashion industry. It’s time we collectively took a stand against him, and stood up for young women everywhere.

From the Change.org petition:

Terry Richardson has produced countless pornographic photographs however two that particularly stand out are one of a woman in a trash can giving Richardson a sexual favor as if to suggest she is ‘garbage’ and a picture of a woman giving Richardson a sexual favor with the word ‘SLUT’ written on her forehead. Why are the big brands we buy from associating themselves with this kind of imagery? This is the man who said   “it’s not who you know, it’s who you blow. I don’t have a hole in my jeans for nothing.”

 

The guy is a creep. Not only does he need to stop receiving huge paychecks from companies willing to hire him, but the allegations of sexual misconduct against him need to be investigated so no other young girls feel coerced into sexual activity with him. I do believe this petition can make a difference. We need to collectively take a stand against this guy, the sort of imagery he creates, and the way he goes about creating this images. There are numerous photographers in the world who create sexually provocative and transgressive images without coercing their models into sex.

According to Page Six, Richardson has responded to the petition by saying:

“I chose to primarily ignore a cycle of Internet gossip and false accusations against me . . . I felt that to dignify them with a response was a betrayal of my work and my character.” He adds of the claims, which popped up again last week: “When these allegations resurfaced over the past few months, they seemed especially vicious and distorted . . . becoming nothing more than an emotionally-charged witch hunt.”

Witches are you with me? You can sign the petition here, and I urge you to pass this along to everyone you know.

(Image: The Representation Project.org)