Vogue Fires Major Photographers Following Sexual Exploitation Accusations By Male Models

Mario Testino Bruce Weber
LOS ANGELES - MAR 2: Bruce Weber at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at the Sunset Boulevard on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, CA (Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com) / photographer, Mario Testino arrives for the Burberry Prorsum SS'12 catwalk show in Kensington Gardens as part of London Fashion Week. 19/09/2011 Picture by Steve Vas/Featureflash

Photographers Mario Testino and Bruce Weber have been suspended from several major magazine publications including Vogue, following allegations they sexual exploited male models and assistants.

In a recent New York Times article, there were a series of claims made against the photographers. Weber denies the claims, while lawyers for Testing said his accusers “cannot be considered reliable sources.”

Vogue publisher Conde Nast said it could not work with the men “for the foreseeable future.”

Artistic director Anna Wintour, who is also Vogue’s editor-in-chief, said in a statement that the claims had “been hard to hear and heartbreaking to confront”.

In a separate statement, Wintour and Conde Naste chief Bob Sauerberg also said they were “deeply disturbed” by the accusations.

In her statement on the Vogue website, Wintour said: “Both (photographers) are personal friends of mine who have made extraordinary contributions to Vogue and many other titles at Conde Nast over the years, and both have issued objections or denials to what has emerged.

“I believe strongly in the value of remorse and forgiveness, but I take the allegations very seriously, and we at Conde Nast have decided to put our working relationship with both photographers on hold for the foreseeable future.”

Mario Testino
Photographer, Mario Testino arrives for the Burberry Prorsum SS’12 catwalk show in Kensington Gardens as part of London Fashion Week. 19/09/2011 Picture by Steve Vas/Featureflash

Weber’s attorney gave a statement to the New York Times that he was “shocked and saddened by the outrageous claims being made against me, which I absolutely deny”.

Testino previously worked with celebrities including Kate Moss, Madonna, Michelle Obama and members of the Royal Family. In the New York Times article, he was accused by 13 male assistants and models of subjecting them to sexual advances. The news outlet reported that the law firm representing Testing said those complaining ould not be considered reliable and that his lawyers had spoken to several former employees who were “shocked by the allegations” and “could not confirm any of the claims”.

The allegations against Testing date back to the mid-1990s and including groping and masturbation. Ryan Locke, a model who worked with Testing on Gucci campaigns described the photographer as a “sexual predator”. A photographic assistant, Hugo Tillman, said Testing pinned him down on a bed before being removed by another person. Another assistant, Roman Barrett, said sexual harassment was a “constant reality.” He claims the photographer masturbated in front of him.

Bruce Weber
LOS ANGELES – MAR 2: Bruce Weber at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at the Sunset Boulevard on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, CA (Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com)

American photographer Weber, 71, is accused by 15 current and former models of subjecting them to unnecessary nudity and coercive sexual behavior, according to the New York Times. Weber worked on campaigns for Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie & Fitch as well as several feature films. Men told the news outlet that they had asked to participate  “breathing exercises”, which included inappropriate touching, while model Bobby Roache explained Weber tried to put his hands down Roache’s pants during a casting in 2007.

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