Much like we saw several years ago, a flurry of allegations regarding Terry Richardson are coming to light. In 2010, several models came forward with horror stories about working with "sexual predator" Richardson (think: him sexually harassing/abusing two (naked) teenage Eastern European models who didn’t speak English; making supermodel Coco Rocha feel uncomfortable to the point that she says she'll never work with him again; and of course, there is Jaime Peck's account of her experience shooting with him). Sure, these models speaking out has created a dialogue in the form of articles dedicated to how creepy Richardson is. It has 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.
Well, as of late, more girls 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.
So, this raises the question of: Why are people still working with Richardson? And while there are obviously quite a few reasons, the main one that I am interested in addressing is the fact that no one (that my extensive research has revealed) has filed a criminal complaint against him. Why does this matter? Well, to begin with, there is a difference between going the record non-anonymously about Richardson via a criminal complaint and writing a blog post about a negative encounter with Terry. (Now, I understand the implications that may come from taking such action, especially in fashion, where models are young and pressured to be compliant and easy to work with in order to avoid being blacklisted, so to speak). And while I commend those who speak out, a criminal complaint would subject Richardson to legal proceedings and essentially, settle the score as to whether these are merely allegations (which unfortunately is all they are as of now) or if they are claims with actual merit and foundation - which appears to be what many parties need in order to ex-communicate Richardson.
Judging by the current climate of the fashion industry, until Richardson is facing criminal charges (which could potentially range from assault, rape, statutory rape (if any of the girls were minors), sexual harassment, etc., if the allegations are true), these allegations will be treated as such per the criminal law standard of "innocent until proven guilty."
At the end of the day, there is a difference between being "a fucking creep" and being a criminal, and until a criminal complaint is filed and the case is tried, all signs are pointing to creep.