Terry Richardson Speaks Out On Allegations

Terry Richardson Speaks Out On Allegations

Over the last couple years, Terry Richardson and controversy have gone hand in hand. Despite the controversial story from 2010 on Jezebel, and the now current #NoMoreTerry boycott going on following new rape allegations surfaced, Terry Richardson has remained quiet in this battle against him. Today however, Terry Richardson finally spoke to Huffington Post, in an attempt to debunk the rumors and allegations surfacing.

Terry Richardson is usually known as the creepy uncle photographer, known best for his harsh flash on a white wall, taking provocative photos of some of the worlds most famous celebrities and models. We've shown his lesser known work before, however he still maintains the creepy stigma, which helped him (allegedly) net over 58 million dollars last year alone. So after the most recent allegations of rape and crude behavior, Terry Richardson finally decided to speak out on the topic.

Breaking Bad star RJ Mitte posing with Terry Richardson Breaking Bad star RJ Mitte posing with Terry Richardson

Four years ago, I chose to primarily ignore a cycle of Internet gossip and false accusations against me. At that time, I felt that to dignify them with a response was a betrayal of my work and my character. When these allegations resurfaced over the past few months, they seemed especially vicious and distorted, moving outside the realm of critical dialogue and becoming nothing more than an emotionally-charged witch hunt. Enabled and protected by the freewheeling and often times anonymous nature of the Internet, people have become comfortable concocting hate-filled and libelous tales about my professional and personal lives. In writing this, I make a humble attempt at correcting these rumors, because I have come to realize that absent my voice in the conversation, all that remain are the lies.

When I moved to New York in 1990 to take pictures, a lot of my work was a documentation of my life in the East Village; it was gritty, transgressive, and the aesthetic broke with the well-lit, polished fashion images of the time. My first big campaign, shot in 1994, was a provocative picture of a couple embracing in a bar. It was a shocking image for its time and the first instance a photograph of this nature was used in a major fashion advertisement.

Like Robert Mapplethorpe, Helmut Newton, and so many others before me, sexual imagery has always been a part of my photography. Ten years ago, in 2004, I presented some of this work at a gallery show in New York City, accompanied by a book of the photos. The show was very popular and highly praised. The images depicted sexual situations and explored the beauty, rawness, and humor that sexuality entails. I collaborated with consenting adult women who were fully aware of the nature of the work, and as is typical with any project, everyone signed releases. I have never used an offer of work or a threat of rebuke to coerce someone into something that they did not want to do. I give everyone that I work with enough respect to view them as having ownership of their free will and making their decisions accordingly, and as such, it has been difficult to see myself as a target of revisionist history. Sadly, in the on-going quest for controversy-generated page views, sloppy journalism fueled by sensationalized, malicious, and manipulative recountings of this work has given rise to angry Internet crusades. Well-intentioned or not, they are based on lies. Believing such rumors at face value does a disservice not only to the spirit of artistic endeavor, but most importantly, to the real victims of exploitation and abuse.

People will always have strong opinions about challenging images, and the dichotomy of sex is that it is both the most natural and universal of human behaviors and also one of the most sensitive and divisive. Over the course of my career, I have come to accept that some of my more provocative work courts controversy, and as an artist, I value the discourse that arises from this. I can only hope for this discourse to be informed by fact, so that whether you love my work or hate it, you give it, and me, the benefit of the truth.

 

Whether you choose to believe him is up to you. However, at this time...no charges have been made against Terry Richardson for rape or sexual assault.

[via HuffingtonPost]

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71 Comments

Tam Nguyen's picture

I don't feel bad for those girls who are crying for attention out there, but I still think that guy is creepy as hell, and I have no respect for him. These stories are the pot calling the kettle black.

I think you're confused. It's more like rape survivors calling the rapist a rapist. If you can't see the difference there, I fear for the women in your life.

Then again, when have you EVER seen a rapist/sex offender come out and say "I did it, it's true!"....

Zach Sutton's picture

Valid point. However, none of these people who have accused him of such behavior have attempted to press charges on him.

It's surprisingly common for victims of sexual assault to not formally press charges, even if they do go public otherwise. You'd be amazed at the amount of pressure that gets put on a victim to /not/ pursue matters further, especially when the person being accused is generally respected, or the amount of re-victimization that occurs - often from friends, family and even the police themselves. Victims will often tell friends and family and then get raked over the coals...

I've watched it happen to both one of my best friends, and a close relative, and since then have heard of it playing out very similarly with several others.

Doesn't mean he did it or anything either. Just don't assume that the lack of charges means all that much.

This, this, and this. Sometimes the backlash that can happen from deciding to bring charges against someone can be worse than the crime itself.

Revictimisation. That's it.

Could not have said it better.

However, this persons story has changed a few times already. Initially, she told a while story and didn't include her reporting it to the police. You'd think that'd be something you mention in the initial story? Then, when pressed, she said 'I DID file a report!'. Then, when pressed again, she said 'Oh, I phoned it in, so have no proof of it since I don't live in NJ', THEN she said 'well, they didn't take a report. THEN she said 'I'm going to NOW press charges...then that was deleted. So. I'm not so sure what exactly is the story. As far as I'm concerned, she could never have even met Terry.

Every time you tell someone a story about your past do you tell it the exact same way? I've never really understood how we as a society vilify witnesses who aren't perfectly consistent with their recount of something that happened YEARS ago when they were a child experiencing a trauma. Hell half the time I can't remember in full detail what I did a month ago let alone years.

Well, when the words rape and sexual assault are thrown around, yeah, I kinda remember details like....the police report. I think that would be a very important part of this story that you'd remember.

David Vaughn's picture

I'm just speculating, but I imagine most of the victims don't really know if their story would hold up in court since they came in willingly and probably did everything Terry asked without being forced.

Plus, I'm sure Terry has some mega-lawyers on his side, while most of the women coming forward are young women who probably don't have the money to pay the legal fees, and they probably don't want to disclose to their parents that they agreed to have the photos taken, but also that they were taken advantage of by this guy.

Plus, I'm sure most of the victims just want to put it behind them. Going through the legal process just makes them stew in their negative feelings and recollections of the events.

I'm just guessing, though. I am not one of the victims so I can't truly understand their thought processes.

if you're saying the 'victims' did everything willingly, without being forced, how exactly are they victims?

I think what he means is more or less that the victims felt like they were being coerced and that they would be putting their careers in jeopardy is they did not do as he commanded, however, I also imagine that there is effectively no way to prove that was the case.

Implied intimidation is very hard to prove because there is nothing concrete to use as evidence.

Furthermore, if memory serves many of these allegations have come from models who were under age at the time, even if he claims that what he did was willing from the models does that not still make him guilty of statutory rape or possibly child pornography?

David Vaughn's picture

Willingly setting up the photo shoot is different than willingly doing what he said. The models could have been unwilling to do all of the sexual stuff Terry allegedly requested, but because they're young and working with such a big name, they might have gone through with it.

I wasn't referring to willingly performing sex acts. I was just saying that they willingly set up the photo shoot, and willingly showed up. They might have unwillingly performed sex acts, but because they did it and there was no account of being forced and no account of the model saying "stop" then it would be very hard to prove anything.

THE easiest and yet most widly accepted as false argument in the matter...

Sexual abuse victims don't always press charges... anybody knows this... -_-

Jon Sharman's picture

I read the article at the link "new rape allegations surfaced" - and I recommend everyone does. It doesn't make much sense to me, not much sense at all. Especially when I got to the part where the girl says "I did not get paid, which makes me feel even more disgusted." Huh?

Tam Nguyen's picture

I'm guessing it would've been okay had she gotten paid.

Jon Sharman's picture

That's kind of my point. Doesn't make any sense.

Because at that point it's obvious that she was just a sexual toy for Terry, not even being treated as a model.

Jon Sharman's picture

Again, why does that make any difference? If she was paid, everything he allegedly did was OK? Doesn't add up.

It's not that hard. It's injury heaped on injury. If someone cut off your balls and stole your car, you'd be right to be mad. I take it you'd be happy OK with it if someone had *just* cut off your balls and not stolen your car?

Jon Sharman's picture

That is, by quite some distance, the worst comparison I've ever read. It's nothing like your comparison. When someone gets sexually assaulted, I don't think they say "it wouldn't have been so bad if I'd have gotten money for it."

But that's not what you said she said, is it? "I did not get paid, which makes me feel even more disgusted." She didn't say "If he paid me, it would have been A-OK!" You're reading in your own bias.

Anyway, it *would* be better just to cut off your balls than cut them off and steal your car, no? Or would stealing your car mitigate it for you somehow?

Even if she had said that, how would that make it any better? Even if you're pro-prostitution, it's still rape. I'm not sure why you'd think this would make Terry look any better. Maybe it's be OK to rape a prostitute in your mind...?

Jon Sharman's picture

Let me just preface this by saying you're an idiot for implying that I think it's OK to rape a prostitute. A complete idiot. That said, this will be my last reply to you, because arguing with idiots is pointless.

What she said means that if she'd been paid, she would have felt better about the situation. That makes no sense, and if you can find ANYONE in the world who has been sexually assaulted that says the same thing, I'll give you everything I own. You won't find anyone.

Also, just stop with the balls/car comparison, it's absolutely brain dead.

It's easier to run away than answer me, I get that. Take care!

I'm not sure what else you're trying to say - maybe you're following your statements to their logical conclusions or maybe I'm misinterpreting something you're saying. But that's what it sounds like to me.

What she said is that not getting paid made it even worse. It made her feel "even more disgusted." What is surprising about this? Is she supposed to be happy that she wasn't paid? I find it very odd that you seem to think her complaint is out of line.

Christopher Hoffmann's picture

He's a POS that uses his stature to get what he wants from naive girls thinking they are gonna be stars because the shot with the famous Uncle Terry. Creeper move IMO.

Jon Sharman's picture

I think he uses his stature to make $50 million a year.

Christopher Hoffmann's picture

You are correct, he does that as well.

Prove it.

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