Must-See Dramatization of Sexual Harassment During a Photoshoot

Note: Video contains NSFW language.

We've all heard the horror stories by now. Reports of sexual harassment in the industry continue to flood our news feeds daily, but have you ever actually seen it? This extremely well-made dramatization based on a real-life incident is a must see.

It can be hard to imagine that this actually happens as often as it does. If you haven't witnessed this with your own eyes, I know it can be difficult to comprehend how common these situations are. This incredible video is one of six made to show what this unacceptable behavior looks like, it will show you an example of what sexual harassment actually appears as during a photoshoot. The dramatization is hard to watch but sadly it is actually fairly mild compared to some stories I've personally heard from models. 

Ad Council has partnered with Directors Sigal Avin and Mazdack Rassi, and Actor David Schwimmer for an anti-sexual harassment awareness campaign called "That's Harassment." The project started as a film campaign to raise awareness. It is now blowing up nationally as three of the six videos will be aired this week on major media networks including CBS, The CW, Fox Networks Group, Freedom, Hulu, Amazon Prime, STARZ, and SHOWTIME. 

The goal is to giving harassment a face, to erase the gray areas surrounding sexual harassment, and to give everyone strength to say and do something about it. These videos are a huge step towards shedding light and eventually preventing harassment in professional settings as a visual is need nowadays for many to believe it even exists.

For more information on the campaign and recourses for victims of sexual harassment, including the 24/7 national call and text hotline, as well as information on the process of reporting to law enforcement, visit RAINN.

Log in or register to post comments

52 Comments

Michael Dougherty's picture

I wish you had real video instead of made-up video. I like real stuff. I have shot nude models before and would never talk to a model like that. Respect is critical for proper social interaction.

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Photographers who sexually harass women don't record it.... would you record yourself doing something illegal and disgusting? I have heard horror stories from SO many models, some of the same photographers, it happens, and sadly it happens when cameras aren't rolling, hence the reason the support of the industry and trust is important to these women
.

Gabrielle Colton's picture

I will do some research and see if I can find some real videos for you though, I am curious myself.

Gabrielle Colton's picture

I haven't looked yet, I'll do my best tomorrow to find some things for you all.

William Howell's picture

Not me, I don’t like that kind of shit. As the dad of four daughters, no way.

Ariel Martini's picture

I guess he meant video recorded by the victim (hidden camera)

Gabrielle Colton's picture

He told her to... And he's in a position of a form of power over her so

Chris Rogers's picture

beeeehhhh he's being sarcastic. :/

Anete Lusina's picture

That comment makes no sense. The young girl was coerced and put on the spot as he made the request.

The purpose of the video is good but what a stupid premise and execution. There are about 20 people in the background acting as art directors, stylists, cilents and even a digi tech working hard in the background even though he's not hooked up to tether. Then he wraps by saying "I got it" meaning he got the shot that the creative brief called for. So besides the comment about "being hard" where is the misconduct? If they were shooting a sexually suggestive ad (like many brands do) then the model would have known before hand and it would have been part of the creative brief. And if it was going way off the brief the art directors and/or client would have corrected that. So is it now sexual assault to shoot sexually suggestive advertising? I have work published in Playboy that is more suggestive than this, did i commit a crime? If this was a model test shoot i could see how it crosses the line but showing that it's a client campaign shoot it loses all credibility.

Gabrielle Colton's picture

The people in the background represent the industry and other bystanders watching/letting it happen. It's what's happened for decades, it's symbolic of this.

ok but just for the sake of argument. Since it is portrayed as a large scale shoot with that many people and the photographer ends by saying he has the shot... how do you know that wasn't the exact shot that was meant to be shot and was on the creative brief? Unless you're talking about his dialog to the model which was out of line. But if the campaign for some reason (like American Apparel ads, Joes Jeans, Calvin Klein ads in the past) called for a sexual type of vibe he wouldn't be out of line telling her to put her hand down her pants if that was what he was hired to shoot, right? I just think it is a cheap shot to try to portray every photographer that shoots edgier content as a predator, myself includes since i shoot for worldwide magazines that include nudity and have shot several jewelry campaigns with full nudity. Now if the claim is only what he is verbalizing is out of line i agree, but if the message is that it's never appropriate to shoot sexually suggestive content than i disagree.

Adam Ottke's picture

Well...normally I might agree to have some reservations as you do. But at the same time, first, it was made clear that this was based on actual comments/experiences. And I'd take that more or less at face value (no reason not to...and you know things like this have happened...and worse). But also, I think it's pretty clear the model in this re-enactment was not at all ready or prepared or expecting this to come out of the shoot. It was pretty clearly not part of some discussion or understanding they had beforehand of some creative brief. She didn't take it and own it and start doing what was directed right away, etc. She was more or less berated into it by the photographer (and then even IF it was part of the brief, the photographer's comments about his own arousal were even more obviously out of line...as if the rest wasn't enough). She's in front of (presumably) some pretty powerful execs, art directors, magazine editors, etc....all people you don't want to disappoint because of their respective positions to yours...if you're the model. That's a lot of pressure alongside some pretty terrible comments in that environment...

William Howell's picture

That sounds reasonable.

Johnny Rico's picture

No, it clearly states this is based on a "real incident"

Evan Kane's picture

Steve. . .I have to be honest, your take and response to the video is basically the fundamental problem of harassment and where to draw the line that people face within the industry.

The video is clearly meant to make you uncomfortable. It should.

The model is very clearly portrayed as having issue with the sexually suggestive and inappropriate way that that photographer is talking to her as well as the "direction" that he is giving. He is the one in the position of power and he is the one using said power to cross that line.

Further more, when the camera pans to reveal the "creative team" who just sits and watches is meant to show that far too often people witness some form of harassment and don't say anything. "Getting the shot" should never involve sexual harassment.

While the video is staged, it's stated that it is based on an actual incident. The fact that an aspiring or veteran model would have to weigh either losing a job or calling out the photographer for making them uncomfortable is absurd.

I don't care if it's portraits, fashion, or even glamour (which by nature is intended to have a strong sexual element to it), we've all heard the horror stories before. Nothing gives a person the right to cross these lines.

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Thank you, Evan.

Gabrielle Colton's picture

You are absolutely right, it happens in all genres, in front of people, one on one, in public etc. The people standing by in real life as this happens also do not often know when the line is being crossed, or like you said want to lose their job or reputation by saying something about it, hence why videos like this are important. The industry has to know what it looks like, know when it's too far, and know they won't lose a job for calling these people out.

William Howell's picture

I made it through twenty seven seconds, that is just creepy and it gave me the willies. That is sick stuff, if that’s how it is fashion photography, you can include me out. I’ll stick to kids and family, right.

Gabrielle Colton's picture

It is hard to watch, but this and so much more actually happens sadly.. We have to know what it looks like to get this sick stuff out of our industry. It happens in all types of photography, I just read an article about a school photographer getting arrested for sexual misconduct, happened two days ago.

William Howell's picture

That ain’t good, and it needs to punished. I do not see why a photographer would have to talk to a person who poses for photographs professionally like that depicted in the video. The model knows she or he is sexy, that’s why you’re paying them, right.

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Right, I think it's mostly of the time a case of "photographers" using the camera for their personal pleasure, it's a tool to lour women in with photos and make it something else, you know?

Don’t you think that one of the qualities of professionals is ability to use their judgement?

I do expect that professional model reviews prior photographer’s work, check website and contacts to be sure that model deals with photographer, not a person with a camera willing to spend pleasurable time with a model.

I’m slightly in fashion and never seen scenarious like that. May be yet.

PS: I’m almost sure I’ve seen this video on this website before.

Simon Patterson's picture

I lasted about 80 seconds. That was horrific enough, I got the point. The entertainment industry (including modelling) has been rife with this, and worse, for a very long time. Every sector has its scumbags but yhe thing that really gets me is all those who support such perpetrators of that behaviour with their silent encouragement. No way I'd want my kids anywhere near this industry.

Julian Foglietti's picture

While I understand what many are saying about inaccuracies, the thing that always makes me sick is the thought of all the people posing as “photographers” preying on young models and creating highly sexualized shoots. I think it’s fair to say that most true commercial photographers would never act this way. What’s scary is the swaths of fake lurking on Facebook model group. It hurts me to see a medium I love so much used for such predatory agendas.....

This was very hard to watch. More than once I had to stop the video, take a deep breath and remember that it is a re-enactment. What bothers me is that it is based on actual events. I've heard some stories from models I've shot with, and while they aren't like this, they have had some interesting experiences. Mainly weird stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with the photoshoot. One guy asked a model if he could smell her shoes. Thankfully she told him where to go.
I have always respected women, even before I got into photography and would never speak to a woman like this. I don't see my position as a position of power. I am a human being first of all and so are the others working on a shot with me. If I, or anyone, says or does something inappropriate you can bet it gets dealt with. I want a happy experience when shooting for everyone involved.

I watched a minute of this and almost immediately started getting uncomfortable. Within a few seconds I couldn't even look at the video and within about 30 seconds, I had turned it off. I'm sure it got worse. And the sad fact is, this is real life for some people. It made me nauseous just watching/listening to it. Imagine being HER

Anete Lusina's picture

I get shivers every time I watch this video!

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Me too, it's awful.

More comments