Model Ashley Graham Tells About Her #MeToo Experience on a Photoshoot Set

Model Ashley Graham Tells About Her #MeToo Experience on a Photoshoot Set

The #MeToo movement isn't going away anytime soon, whether we want it or not. The time is right for women and men to come out with their experiences of sexual abuse and misconduct in arts and business, following the examples of high-profile celebrities. One such celebrity, Ashley Graham, an American model who has been a dedicated advocate for self-confidence and body acceptance, has been courageous and spoken out about her #MeToo experience at the beginning of her modeling career.

At only 17 years of age, while Graham was working for a large campaign, she was allegedly “lured into a hallway by a photography assistant who subsequently pushed her into a closet where he exposed himself to her.” Graham kept this harrowing experience to herself for years, fearing for rejection in the industry and the inability to book any modeling jobs thereafter.

The importance of #MeToo is prevalent, as Graham explains that if the assault had occurred today “she would have spoken out about the assault, and while there's no way to know what would have happened, she would have done something.”

Baby steps are being made in cleansing the industry from inside and out, such as when leading fashion magazines chose to disassociate themselves from Terry Richardson, there still is a long way to go in creating a safe work environment in the entertainment industry. The abuse and misconduct isn't only aimed at models or actors, but also at photographers, too.

The biggest issue is that freelance photographers do not have a HR department to turn to, and neither do freelance models, event planners, nor others who work in the industry and are self-employed. Paying bills often comes before your own safety when you do not have a guaranteed wage at the end of the month, and as such many of these experiences can become buried. 

However, there is strength in unity and as such there is no doubt that we will continue to see the #MeToo movement spread across different industries, and hopefully bring voice and closure to those who have been too frightened to tell their stories. 

Lead image by Mihai Surdu via Unsplash.

[via Bustle]

Anete Lusina's picture

Anete Lusina is a photographer based in West Yorkshire, UK. You'll either find her shooting weddings, documentary, or street photography across the U.K. and Europe, or perhaps doing the occasional conceptual shoot.

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It has to be one of the saddest moments in life to see the enormity of this movement and understanding what that actually means. There is so much sadness in this world, and it all happens out of vanity. I have two daughters and will fight till the day I die to make sure they can never use that #.

It's even more sad to think this can affect both men AND women, as well as young ones in the industry and even grown ups! It can be equally as scary to experience.

I know so many woman who have gone through this, and as a man, it devastates me. So few positive male roll models anymore. This is one of a few reasons why I have never worked one on one with female models. I always have a female present for support, and don't do any shoots I would feel embarrassed to show my own wife.

I guess thats a matter of your perspective.
I have known great and brilliant men from every walk of life, so I do know they are out there. However, I did not exaggerate when I said “few”. If we had more men willing to raise their boys to respect and honor women, there would be fewer movements like this.
As a man, I hold Men alone accountable for these actions, as there are no excuses.

That particular form of masculinity is no longer valued. Third Wave Feminism finished it off in the mainstream anyway. And you hold Men holistically responsible. Thanks...

I'm here to watch people lay blame on the women...

Does it benefit me?

Past #ok
2017 #metoo

Are you asking if the movement benefits you?

I am saying these women and men seeking fame and money in fields where less than 1% succeed knew exactly what they were getting into.

People will do almost anything if it benefits themselves in some way. People seeking “the easy way out” are even more motivated/desperate to succeed.

In the past the answer to the question was yes (#ok). In the present the answer to the question is still yes (#metoo).

Is it right? Hell no. The people being accused should be in jail.

I can see your point but I disagree. I did modelling for the enjoyment and a bit of extra money, certainly not for fame and I definitely didn't think I'll be the next Kate Moss, and yet I still got abused. It's not so much what men and women are willing to do to get to the top but rather what do those at the top are willing to do to exercise their power towards their subordinates. This also stands true for someone booking a model (or a photographer) and abusing them, knowing that they are paying them, hence why the 'employer' and 'employee' power situation still applies to them, too.

The real Bob Brady you're back!!

Oh yes, they do. There are a few cases here in Asia where woman have been arrested for beating up their man.

Bob we are angels ;) lol jk true but STILL

"fact that many women are quite happy going along with such behavior to get ahead in their career. Then you have other women that are willing to sacrifice their morals for a job"

That is so true and it does need to be addressed. I understand that may sound ridiculous, but I witnessed it a few times and even intervene a few occasions when they were my friends. I also seen when models have gotten mad at photographers and then claim they had sex against their will, even thou they dated for 3 months straight.

These situations are not always black and white.


Human problems go all the way back to the beginning of time. There is only one way out and stupid hashtags are not it. Keep asking where the evil comes from and sooner or later the answer stares you in the face. What you do with the truth is up to you.

In a normal functioning modern society if you accuse somebody of improper conduct (such as rape) you are supposed to follow a procedure of pressing charges and presenting evidence to a court of law. The court then deals with the evidence and determines whether the accuser is telling the truth or not. But now all the accuser has to do is go on social media with a hashtag and a name and the accused stands guilty. No trial, no evidence, nothing. Guilty. Sorry mate, that's your life down the tubes. Doesn't matter if the accuser is lying or not.

I feel sorry for the millions and millions of young single (normal) men out there who will now be way too afraid to even look at a woman for fear of being accused, tried and executed in the social media for sexual harassment.

In yesterday's news there was at least a glimmer of reason in the form of Katherine Deneuve who along with other French celebrities have said that this has gone too far.

Hold on there, cowboy. How did we get to the demise of Western Civilization again? Oh .. I see .. political correctness is to blame. And apparently "political correctness" is why we are even discussing the harassment of women now. It's a nice catch-all phrase which encapsulates nothing other than resentment.

No, I harbor no resentment towards anything. My not-so-well made point was that the phrase "political correctness" has come to mean little more to me than a collection of various kinds of resentment .. towards .. not calling a spade a spade? Or, as you would have it, not recognizing the truth.

I think you have been clear and I think you've laid out your position well. I have no basic disagreements, though I suspect I may be more willing to bend the rules in favor of making sure her kids are fed. And that's the truth of it.

I think it's going to be tough for men to know how to behave as we go forward, that's for sure.

You know Bob, I'm beginning to think you didn't even watch the video here and just went straight to pontificating, which seems to be your wont. You were so busy showing us your strong moral compass that you completely missed the point of the article.

The article is about the model, Ashley Graham, who at the age of 17 was the victim .. VICTIM is the word, Bob .. of a photography assistant who subsequently pushed her into a closet where he exposed himself to her.

Was Ashley Graham asking for it? Was she less than innocent? Is she just a tart? Was she wrong to be involved in fashion modeling in the first place, and should she have known that this sort of creepy behavior from certain men is part of the faustian bargain of being a fashion model? Or .. OR .. should we expect a better world and better behavior from men? (Personally, I would not have let my 17 year old loose in NYC alone, but ... it should be possible to trust, in a better world.)

Instead of addressing this issue, you go off on women and their enablers, those "politically correct" people. The term is stupid. It's used by people who harbor resentments. It's even used to justify hateful and vulgar language now .. now you call a place a "shithole" and be praised by the morons who think a blow has struck against political correctness.

Oh .. and political correctness is systematically destroying Western Civilization .. I forgot. Overstate your case much?

Still, I was prepared to humor you for the sake of a discussion. But you're just a humorless zealot with an agenda .. every blog has them. As for the women in your life, just use your charm. That will do.

Great post Anete!!!

I would address the Creative Directors, Editors and Managers that hired Terry Richardson. Throughout his career as a photographer, he was known to be a prev and to be sexually forward with the models he has worked with. It was no secret. Frankly, I was never a fan of his photography.

I find the people that hire him just as guilty and now that this moment has become alive and strong. Everyone is distancing themselves from him pretending they did not know. Even thou I don't like him. The man never concealed who he is. Shame on them for putting their models and clients in that awkward position.

Why didn't she immediately report that guy to whoever was in charge?????

Another video showing bunch of very entitled females berating men and hating the men kind. Ashley Graham, her ONLY reason why she has life she is having (being a particular kind of a famous curvy model) is because of men who like watching her AND would really like to slide their cock down her arse and let her blow them. Thats her main audience. It would be good that she respects that (and she knows that very well) because without men, she wouldnt be where she is now. And to hear her shit facing men in this video. What a hypocrite. Double standards at its worst.
And also for @Fstoppers labeling this supremely privileged model experience as 'harrowing' (rolling my eyeballs here), read some real news and pay some real and close attention for a change about whats happening to people in Yemen, Syria and anywhere in Africa where is war. Use that word very sparsely and dont abuse it.
@Fstoppers and Ashley Graham.. what a match.

Good god. It takes a special kind of snowflake to go from hearing a woman talk about a specific (and frankly, prevalent) scenario to jumping to how she knew what she was in for and should essentially shut her mouth because—according to you—her "audience" is a specific type of person.

Armchair psychology and all, but there is clearly a level of projection going on here that you need to address within yourself. I hope you do so, because I truly feel your life would be better if you opened yourself up to a woman's perspective and experience, especially on this topic considering you have—to use your own ridiculous choice of words—a c**k between your legs.

Oh my, Dan Thomas. You are a whole new kind of stupid.

F.Stoppers, was I imagined to be, a community of photography enthusiasts, yet reading the comments and looking at the portfolio's of many of the people who post comments dont seem to have any images on the portfolios's.

Perhaps those people should have more effort into shooting images and less on posting comments ......just a thought.