After banning Terry Richardson, Vogue publisher Condé Nast is cutting ties with another two famous fashion photographers: Mario Testino and Bruce Weber. The reason behind the decision is the same – the photographers have been accused of sexual abuse.
With the #MeToo movement becoming bigger, the number of sexual abuse accusations is rising. And according to recent claims against Weber and Testino, abuse hasn’t affected female models alone. These photographers have been accused of sexual misconduct by male models and assistants.
In December 2017, Bruce Weber was first accused of sexual abuse by a male model who worked with him. As The New York Times writes, fifteen male models who worked with Weber have made accusations so far. They have described a pattern which reportedly included “unnecessary nudity and coercive sexual behavior,” often during photo shoots.
More recent claims have been brought against Mario Testino. The alleged sexual abuse goes back to mid-1990s, as The New York Times reports. Thirteen male assistants and models have so far made allegations, describing sexual advances that included “groping and masturbation.”
Both Weber and Testino are defending themselves against the allegations. Testino’s lawyers said in a statement that the models and assistants who made the accusations “cannot be considered reliable sources.” Weber said in a statement from his lawyer that he’s “completely shocked and saddened by the outrageous claims” against him, and he “absolutely denies” them.
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I want to address the recent allegations made against me. I unequivocally deny these charges and will vigorously defend myself. I have spent my career capturing the human spirit through photographs and am confident that, in due time, the truth will prevail. I am grateful for the outpouring of support I have received. -Bruce Weber
After this series of claims, allegations, and accusations, Condé Nast has crafted new Code of Conduct. Its goal is to make a working environment that is safe and positive for everyone working with the publishers. The guidelines include:
- 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.
Anna Wintour, artistic director of Condé Nast and editor of Vogue, has issued a statement regarding the matter. She says that the accusations against the two photographers are “hard to hear and heartbreaking to confront.” According to her, she believes in remorse and forgiveness, but “takes the allegations very seriously.” Therefore, as Vogue writes, Condé Nast has decided to put its collaboration on hold with both Weber and Testino, at least for now.