Mario Testino and Bruce Weber have been suspended from working with fashion magazines including Vogue after models accused the photographers of sexually exploiting them.
In a statement to New York Times from his lawyer, Weber said: “I’m completely shocked and saddened by the outrageous claims being made against me, which I absolutely deny.”
Anna Wintour said the allegations against her “personal friends” had been “hard to hear and heartbreaking to confront”. “I believe strongly in the value of remorse and forgiveness, but I take the allegations very seriously, and we at Condé Nast have decided to put our working relationship with both photographers on hold for the foreseeable future,” she said in a statement.
In an article in New York Times, the male models recall: “I remember him putting his fingers in my mouth, and him grabbing my privates,” said the model Robyn Sinclair. “We never had sex or anything, but a lot of things happened. A lot of touching. A lot of molestation.” In fashion, young men are particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Male models are “the least respected and most disposable,” said the former model Trish Goff.
“It was general practice to give a model a heads-up about a specific photographer who we knew had a certain reputation,” said Gene Kogan of his time working as an agent at Next Management between 1996 and 2002.
Burberry—who hasn’t worked with Testino since 2016—has no future plans with him. In a statement, the brand said: “We take allegations of this nature very seriously. Burberry is committed to providing a just, safe and fair working environment and we have a zero-tolerance policy against any form of harassment, abuse or discrimination. The safety, security and welfare of the people with whom we work is a priority for Burberry and we seek to ensure all our partners adhere to our principles and policies and comply with all applicable laws and regulations.”
Stuart Weitzman’s chief executive officer and brand president said: “We are deeply saddened by the allegations in today’s article. We take these accusations very seriously and providing a safe and secure working environment where everyone feels respected is our foremost priority. As a result, we will not be working with Mario Testino for the foreseeable future.”
From now one Vogue and other publications will make sure that all models appearing in fashion shoots commissioned by Condé Nast must be 18 years of age or older. The only exceptions will be those appearing as themselves as part of a profile, news story, or similar content, and they will be required to have a chaperone on set at all times. Alcohol will no longer be allowed on Condé Nast sets. Recreational drugs are not permitted. Photographers will no longer be permitted to use a Condé Nast set for any work that is not commissioned or approved by the company. Any shoot involving nudity, sheer clothing, lingerie, swimwear, simulated drug or alcohol use, or sexually suggestive poses must be approved in advance by the subject.