Staff Writer @JBouresPhotographing the likes of Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson and LeBron James, Terry Richardson is famous in the fashion world for his edgy photos of models and celebrities. But recently he’s become infamous as a sexual predator. Numerous models have shed light on Richardson’s exploitation of young girls in the fashion industry, the most recent from a post on Reddit. Jezebel.com reported that the former model, who was shot by Richardson five years ago, was initially reluctant to share her story. But she decided that her story needed to be heard: “I feel like it is extremely important for me to share my experience for the sake of other young women out there so I'm starting here. I want to not only warn against making the same mistake I did but possibly open up the dialogue about how/and why this sort of thing can happen so easily. Let me preface this by saying I am fully aware that this was bad decision making on my part and that the true purpose of me sharing this is I want people to know what is possible in these situations and that you as a human being are 100% allowed to say no to something you are uncomfortable with and I wish I had the strength to then.” At 19 years old, the model had done nude photo shoots for a few months and felt comfortable doing so, and was “never touched or made to feel like I had to do something out of my comfort zone.” She describes meeting Terry and his assistant at his studio and signing vague release forms. Then the shoot began and Terry’s behavior became inappropriate –then turned into sexual assault: “I stood there and he started taking pics, assistant off to the side. Then he came up and took pictures POV style with his hand on my face. Then he put his thumb in my mouth, I actually thought this was funny in the moment and he and his assistant were very upbeat and just light heartedly directing me. Then he stepped back at some point and had me start removing my clothes (I knew I would be getting nude, so this was not weird to me).” “I honestly do not remember if the sexual stuff started by the wall or when he moved me to the couch area but at some point I was being directed to do things like hold the top of his pants while he took more POV style pictures, then eventually unbutton his pants and then his penis was out. Meanwhile it felt like it was all just happening and there was no time to step back and be like 'woah this is out of hand.'” After the shoot the model began to realize what had just happened. Richardson asked if she had a boyfriend and she said yes, to which he began “overly sweetly apologizing'. “[H]e said oh I always mean to ask that first I'm so sorry. This was the part that actually bothered me the most because A. I think what had just happened was hitting me and B. it felt so fake and planned and like a slap in the face." Richardson acted without consent from the model, making this a case of sexual assault. Other models that have come forward have told similar stories, adding to Richardson’s disreputable reputation. The photographer also abused his status in the fashion world to take advantage of young models just beginning their careers. The model explained why she didn’t leave the shoot when things became uncomfortable: “I dont know [why I didn't leave]! I think it was fear and a an automatic disconnect happened inside my head or something. It felt like it happened so quickly. Their attitudes were so upbeat and like everything was just you know silly or cool or whatever that the blend from weird to crossing the line was somehow blurred as it happened.” Now society will recognize Terry Richardson for entirely different reasons.
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