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.