Diana's favourite photographer Mario Testino accused of molesting string of male models


A new expose by The New York Times, released Saturday, recounts the testimonies of 28 former and current models who claim they were sexually exploited by fashion photographers Mario Testino and Bruce Weber.

The Times reports that numerous models recounted a similar scenario when talking about Weber: a private "session" where he allegedly requested that the models take off their clothes and participate in "breathing" exercises.

Bruce Weber, 71, is known for his provocative campaigns for brands like Calvin Klein and Abercrombie & Fitch.

"Sexual harassment was a constant reality", said Roman Barrett, an assistant to Testino in the late 1990s who said the photographer rubbed up against his leg with an erection and masturbated in front of him. Testino, now 63, shot the February 2018 cover of Vogue featuring Serena Williams and daughter Alexis Olympia, and has famously photographed the royal family, including engagement photos of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

Representatives for Weber and Testino said they were shocked by the allegations.

In a statement from his attorney, Weber said: "I'm completely shocked and saddened by the outrageous claims being made against me, which I absolutely deny".

Lavely & Singer, the law firm that represents Testino, said in a letter in response to these accounts that the individuals who spoke with The Times "cannot be considered reliable sources".

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.

"He was a sexual predator", said Ryan Locke, who succeeded Fedele with Gucci.

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At one point Mr Testino is alleged to have ordered other employees off set so he was alone with Mr Locke. Then he crawls on the bed, climbs on top of me and says, 'I'm the girl, you're the boy.' I went at him, like, you better get away.

Young models are extremely vulnerable to exploitation in the industry, and particularly with photographers as powerful as Weber and Testino, many were powerless to say no.

Model Josh Ardolf said that during a nude shoot his genitals were grabbed by Weber. "A lot of molestation".

Several assistants said Testino's behavior towards them was similar.

Terron Wood, a model who shot several ad campaigns with Weber between 2007 and 2010, said: "The first thing I was told about Bruce was that he puts people in really precarious situations".

During these sessions, the models claim that Weber asked them to touch themselves and him, and claim that he allegedly touched them as well.

Hooper said he was told: "If I'm more vulnerable, I'll go a lot farther in my career modeling".

Vogue publisher Conde Nast said it would not work with the photographers "for the foreseeable future".

Conde Nast recently distanced itself from Terry Richardson following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, despite claims about the photographer mistreating models having been aired years previously.