Allegations Made Against Mario Testino and Bruce Weber by Male Models

Allegations Made Against Mario Testino and Bruce Weber by Male Models”

This weekend, the New York Times reported that fashion heavy hitters Mario Testino and Bruce Weber -both celebrated photographers who have worked for the likes of Vogue, Calvin Klein and Britain's royal family between them - have been accused by numerous male models who say the men "sexually exploited them".

The allegations against Testino, The Times reports, date back to the 1990s.

Of the 15 male models who have accused Weber, one in particular, Robyn Sinclair, told The New York Times, "I remember him putting his fingers in my mouth, and him grabbing my privates". We never had sex or anything, but a lot of things happened. A lot of touching. "A lot of molestation". "Models were asked to breathe and to touch both themselves and Mr. Weber, moving their hands wherever they felt their 'energy.' Often, Mr. Weber guided their hands with his own".

As more and more powerful men are accused of sexual harassment and assault, there were rumors among blogs and social media that photographer Mario Testino might be next. Both photographers denied the allegations through legal representatives. In a statement from his attorney, Weber said: "I'm completely shocked and saddened by the outrageous claims being made against me, which I absolutely deny".

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

"He was a sexual predator", said Ryan Locke, who succeeded Fedele with Gucci. 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, and 'tighten your belt"'.

He is quoted as saying: "He shuts the door and locks it, then he crawls on the bed, climbs on top of me and says, "I'm the girl, you're the boy". "I threw the towel on him, put my clothes on and walked out".

Thirteen male assistants and models also accused Mario Testino of various sexual advances, including groping and masturbation.

Various actresses came forward in 2017 to accuse movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct and rape, resulting in his ouster from his film studio and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of how the fashion industry works understands that misogyny, racism and weaponized sexuality permeate an industry in which the most ultimate rule is "sex sells".

Model Mark Ricketson (lt.) with his attorney Lisa Bloom (c.) and model Jason Boyce, who are accusing photographer Bruce Weber of sexual misconduct, at The Bloom Firm in California on December 5, 2017.

Both Weber and Testino have been deeply embedded in the culture of magazines like Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ, and now the magazines' publisher, Condé Nast, has committed to creating new guidelines to protect models from abuse.

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