Leading Publications Sever Ties With Bruce Weber and Mario Testino After Sexual Harassment Allegations

Leading Publications Sever Ties With Bruce Weber and Mario Testino After Sexual Harassment Allegations

Condè Nast and other media companies have severed ties from powerhouse Photographers Bruce Weber and Mario Testino after several allegations surfaced in an investigation of both of them beginning as early as last Thanksgiving.

Sexual harassment has been a major topic of discussion in 2017 as well as 2018. With the Golden Globes having just closed out with a public display of unification and solidarity under the "Times Up" movement, we've now come to learn more of the investigation of Bruce Weber and Mario Testino, which started as early as Thanksgiving last year. At least 15 current and former male models and 13 male assistants have accused the photographers of a pattern of coercive and suggestive sexual behavior. The allegations have been denied by both parties. 

In a statement to the New York Times, Bruce Weber called the allegations "untrue," also stating that he "had never touched the models inappropriately." The law firm representing Mario Testino also objected to the allegations by challenging the accusers' "character and credibility."

Creative Director of Condè Nast Anna Wintour alongside Chief Executive Bob Sauerberg released a joint statement: "In light of these allegations, we will not be commissioning any new work with Bruce Weber and Mario Testino for the foreseeable future.” This comes not long after Condè Nast also banned Terry Richardson from their publishing powerhouse. Said Wintour:

Even as we stand with victims of abuse and misconduct, we must also hold a mirror up to ourselves — and ask if we are doing our utmost to protect those we work with so that unacceptable conduct never happens on our watch. Sometimes that means addressing the fact that such behavior can occur close to home. Today, allegations have been made against Bruce Weber and Mario Testino, stories that have been hard to hear and heartbreaking to confront. Both are personal friends of mine who have made extraordinary contributions to Vogue and many other titles at Condé 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 Condé Nast have decided to put our working relationship with both photographers on hold for the foreseeable future."

In the face of these changes sweeping the various creative communities now settling on the fashion industry and photographers alike, what do you believe this spells for coming years? Hopefully, it'll be a sense of unification among peers as we look out for one another and hold each other accountable? Even for those of us who may not hold such a big name, we realize that it starts with us: on our sets, within our communities. We must ensure that we promote a safe and healthy environment for those we work with.

Lead image by Walterlan Papetti and Christoper Macsurak, used under Creative Commons

[via Business of Fashion and New York Times]

Brandon Laurent's picture

Brandon Laurent is a 25-year-old self-taught photographer specializing in fashion photography and portraiture.

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let them defend their name in court before concluding that they are guilty without a trial. otherwise, this is a disaster.
Then if guilty fire them!!!!!

How can we always have proof? Pictures ? Impossible...

So accusation is all that is needed for convictions like this? Destroying people's lives purely based on accusations is akin to ancient witch hunt.

"After playing dumbs for decades, burying rapes and misconducts as if they didn't exist, we are now commited to overcompensate by being overly conservative and take allegations as proofs to condemn swiftly, but deeply believe in forgiveness (whatever does that means).

Yours sincerely,

The hypocrites at Condé Nast".

The lack of due process is a concern.

Terry Richardson was a known quantity. I really know nothing about Bruce Weber. Mario Testino however is a surprise. He does amazing work. It will be interesting how all of this is resolved.

it's too bad that all it takes is one person to say something happened to ruin a career. i'm not defending anyone but no one knows if this is true or not and these two guys careers are over. this can happen to anyone, anyone. and why is this only a bad thing when it's men that do it ? it should go both ways.

Because women won't tolerate bullshit like this and fight to their death. Men won't. Sad really.

The biggest thing to me is that people are forgetting they weren't legally penalized but rather the brand after many decades of allegations...have cleared ties to them. Which although frightening, makes complete sense. When we work for a brand we not only are producing work for them but also representing the brand and the environment that they keep. In what looks like an effort to keep themselves from being bogged down by the cases of sexual harassment that has been unveiled in the industry. They decided to remove themselves. It wasn't a simple process I mean it was Anna Wintour who spoke out against two photographers she's notoriously worked with for decades and also considers friends. I think the message it sends however is that no matter how powerful you are deemed within your respective environment. You are not untouchable in regards to, messing with harassing coworkers or the subjects of our work.

The problem now is that asking a colleage out is sexual harrassment. "Allegations" are not enough to condemn someone.