Hercules magazine has a new name on the mast head of its 25th issue: Bruce Weber. The famed photographer, who has shot campaigns for brands ranging from Abercrombie to Versace during his lengthy career, lensed images for “about 40 pages” of Hercules’ most recent issue, entitled, “Unconditional,” which is set to hit shelves on October 4th. Mr. Weber is nothing if not a controversial choice for the men’s magazine in the wake of the #MeToo movement, as he has been accused by more than 15 models of sexual harassment. And in fact, the lawsuit that model Jason Boyce filed against Weber in November 2017, alleging sexual harassment and discrimination, is still underway in a New York state court.
According to the complaint he filed last winter, Mr. Boyce claims that took part in a photo shoot in December 2014 at Mr. Weber’s Manhattan studio, and was left feeling “terrified and repulsed” after Weber, 71, kissed him on the lips, removed his underwear and forced him to touch his own genitals. Boyce further alleges that on the same occasion, Weber “put his fingers in Mr. Boyce’s mouth. Shocked, Mr. Boyce opened his eyes. Mr. Weber told him to keep his eyes closed, and kept his fingers in Mr. Boyce’s mouth. ‘If you just had confidence, you’d go really far,’ Mr. Weber whispered. ‘How far do you want to make it? How ambitious are you?’”
Boyce claims that he suffered “mental anguish and humiliation, as well as adverse employment consequences, including loss future wages, professional opportunities, and other valuable benefits and emoluments of employment” as a result of Weber's behavior, for which he is seeking monetary damages to the tune of $2 million. Weber has vehemently denied the claims.
The docket for the New York Supreme Court shows that the case is still pending.
On the heels of Boyce’s filing, more than a dozen other models came forth to the New York Times citing similar experiences with Weber, and while, the fall out began quite swiftly, with Vanity Fair, among other publications and brands distancing themselves from Weber,Hercules magazine and its co-founder/co-editor David Vivirido are ready to give him a second chance.
And they are not the only ones helping to usher Weber back into the industry. As WWD stated on Friday, “All of the brands that appear in the shoot [by Weber] knew where their clothes were headed and who would be photographing them — [Mr. Vivirido] got no push back on requests.”
The brands whose wares are featured in Weber’s shoot include, “Margaret Howell, James Perse, Prada, Hanes, Levi’s, Agnès b., Calvin Klein 205W39NYC, Helmut Lang, Balenciaga, Dior Homme, Rick Owens, Dries Van Noten, Marni, Phillip Lim and Jil Sander, among others.” Moreover, WWD stated that “the issue, including 100 limited hardcover copies, is being sold exclusively at Carla Sozzani’s 10 Corso Como.”
(Note: TFL reached out to each one of these brands for comment prior to publication. A representative for Prada said the brand is “not releasing a comment on the matter.”).
Vivirido told the trade publication this week that we are living in an era when “anyone could just come up with a story about any of us” and said that he feels “an obligation” to support Weber, since the photographer first worked with the magazine in 2016, before any of the allegations against him were public. The editor also attempted to distinguish the claims against Weber, saying that “of course, it’s not the same as someone accused of something like rape.”