Mario Testino, Bruce Weber accused of sexual misconduct

Mario Testino and Bruce Weber Accused of Sexual Exploitation by Male Models

More than a dozen male models and assistants allege they were sexually exploited by Bruce Weber and Mario Testino, in an explosive report embroiling two of fashion photography's biggest names. "In light of these allegations, we will not be commissioning any new work with Bruce Weber or Mario Testino for the foreseeable future".

United States photographer Weber, 71, was accused by 15 current and former models of subjecting them to unnecessary nudity and coercive sexual behaviour, according to The New York Times.

One model, Robyn Sinclair, alleged Mr. Weber put his fingers in the model's mouth and grabbed "my privates".

"We never had sex or anything, but a lot of things happened - a lot of touching, a lot of molestation". A lot of touching.

Fifteen current and former models told the Times that Weber's demands often occurred during photo shoots and other private sessions.

In the same Times investigation, it's been reported that 13 male assistants and models who worked with Testino say he subjected them to sexual advances that in some cases included masturbation and groping.

Numerous accusers spoke on the condition of anonymity. To that end, agent Gene Kogan explained to The Times: "It was general practice to give a model a heads-up about a specific photographer who we knew had a certain reputation". "Today, allegations have been made against Bruce Weber and Mario Testino, stories that have been hard to hear and heartbreaking to confront".

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Ryan Locke, who was photographed by Testino for a Gucci campaign, told the NYT he recalled other models telling him to tighten his belt before meeting Testino.

"I went at him, like, you better get away", Locke said. "Then things would go back to normal, and that made you feel gaslighted". "I threw the towel on him, put my clothes on and walked out". Representatives for both photographers are yet to respond to similar requests.

Mr Weber told the paper in a statement from his lawyer: "I'm completely shocked and saddened by the outrageous claims being made against me, which I absolutely deny".

Law firm Lavely & Singer, which represents Testino, challenged the credibility and characters of the people accusing him of harassment, writing that it had spoken with several former employees of Testino who were "shocked by the allegations" and "could not confirm any of the claims".

In a statement posted on the Vogue website, Anna Wintour also addressed the accusations, while noting that the magazine's publisher, Condé Nast, is rolling out a new Code of Conduct for outside contributors, which includes that models must pre-approve shoots that involve nudity or sexually suggestive poses.

Testino's attorney, Andrew Brettler, said in an email to The Associated Press late Saturday, "We are not providing any further comment at this time". Ziff, the company's founding director, also helped produce legislation that created federal protections for child performers. For more resources on sexual assault, visit RAINN, End Rape on Campus, Know Your IX, and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

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