Terry Richardson May be a Creep but Is He a Criminal?

The short answer, it seems, is, yes, Terry Richardson is both a creep and a criminal. Over the past several years, we have been subjected to no shortage of allegations regarding Terry Richardson - several models came forward with horror stories about working with the alleged "sexual predator," and now, according to New York Magazine, we have two lawsuits to add to the mix.

New York Mag's Benjamin Wallace uncovered the suits, both of which were filed in 2005 in California and quietly settled out of court and before trial. 

Gabriela Johansson v. Terry Richardson

In the first suit, Romanian model Gabriela Johansson accused Richardson of publishing nude photographs of her without her consent. (She claimed she only agreed to be in a “test shoot.”). Johansson sought $1 million in damages for fraud, invasion of privacy, misappropriation, breach of contract, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

On May 19, 2005, Johansson sued Richardson in a lawsuit that centered on what Johansson said was a “test shoot” with Richardson at the Chateau Marmont, which she attended with other models from her agency. 

Per Buzzfeed: "Johansson said when she arrived at the hotel, she filled in her necessary information on 'sign-in' papers, but never reviewed a model release and wasn’t given a duplicate copy of the papers. She said during the topless shoot, Richardson pushed 'aggressively' for her to get completely nude; she felt 'very uncomfortable,' according to the complaint, and refused to continue."

The complaint stated: "After reviewing Johansson’s portfolio, Richardson proceeded to take photographs of Johansson. As soon as Richardson began taking the topless Photographs [sic] of Johansson, Richardson requested Johansson to show more than merely a topless pose, and then ultimately pushed aggressively for her to pull down her bottoms and/or remove all of her clothes — which was not the stated and represented purpose of the casting session. Johansson became very uncomfortable with Richardson’s conduct and his requested poses as he continued to push aggressively for full nude versus only semi-nude/topless photographs." 

"Although Johansson was initially pressured by Richardson under the false pretense and promise of a potential modeling job to participate in nude poses of which she was extremely uncomfortable, Richardson’s conduct quickly resulted in Johansson’s refusal to continue and her termination of the Casting Session. Johansson’s participation in the Casting Session and any alleged agreement for the use of the Photographs by Richardson was thereby rescinded."

The lawsuit called Richardson a “smut photographer who posing as a legitimate photographer fraudulent lures professional models into allowing him to photograph them for alleged professional casting auditions, and then exploits their photos as past [sic] of a sleazy and tortious scheme.”

The case was dismissed on Aug. 17, 2005. New York magazine reports that it was quietly settled.

Frank “Speedy” Lopera v. Terry Richardson

Frank “Speedy” Lopera filed a similar suit alleging that he was deceived by Richardson. Per Buzzfeed, "On Nov. 14, 2005, lawyers for Frank 'Speedy' Lopera filed a complaint against Richardson and his publisher Taschen America for invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence. Lopera said when he was 17 — about 1995 or 1996 — he visited Richardson’s home studio for a 'test' session, described to Lopera and his agent as a session 'solely for the experience of both the photographer and the subject.'”

Buzzfeed notes, "Lopera wasn’t told in advance that the session would involve getting nude or that the photos would ever be published, according to his complaint. He was allegedly also not asked — nor was his legal guardian asked — to execute a written release."

According to Lopera's complaint: "Upon arriving at Mr. Richardson’s apartment, Mr. Richardson immediately made Mr. Lopera feel comfortable. Unlike the limited test shoots (and later fashion shoots) Mr. Richardson did not issue instructions. Instead he simply and enthusiastically urged Mr. Lopera to pose in for several roles of clothed photographs. During the course of the session, Mr. Richardson bluntly suggested taking the Nude Photos and in a manner which he has become accustomed persuaded a self-conscious person to disrobe."

"During the session, Mr. Lopera expressed that he was not comfortable taking the Nude Photos and that he did not want them to become public. Mr. Richardson assured Mr. Lopera that the pictures were not for any publication or any other public purpose."

Four photos from the alleged “test” session were later published in Richardson’s Taschen book Terryworld — three in which Lopera’s penis is visible.

Lopera's case was settled out of court and ahead of trial on May 9, 2006.

More Models, Little Change

As of late, more models are speaking out. In a Reddit post (entitled, "My experience 'modeling' for Terry Richardson when I was 19"), a user shared her thoughts on shooting with Richardson. She has since spoken out and revealed herself as Charlotte Waters to Vocativ

Models Sara Ziff and Alise Shoemaker, the former is the founder and the latter a member of the Model Alliance, a nonprofit organization aimed at bringing ethical standards to the modeling industry, both spoke out recently in a HuffPost Live segment about Richardson and his notoriously perverted ways. These allegations come on the heels of an anti-Terry Richardson Change.org petition that began circulating late last year.

The models that have spoken out have created a dialogue in the form of articles dedicated to how predatory Richardson is. Their bravery has also increased awareness about Richardson and has also resulted in some of his clients opting for other photographers. However, overall, the result has not been earth-shattering.

According to Jezebel, "In the past 30 days, he's shot Lady Gaga for Harper's Bazaar, Lea Michele and Jennifer Hudson for V, LeBron James for GQ, Stacy Martin of Nymphomaniac fame for Purple Fashion, and Kate Moss for Lui." As you can see, magazines have not ditched Richardson despite these allegations, and neither have his many celebrity subjects.

So, this raises the question of: Why are people still working with Richardson? Are they waiting for criminal complaints to be filed in order to somehow verify the claims of these women?