Since as early as 2005, photographer Terry Richardson has faced dozens of accusations of sexual harassment and assault, continuing to get work despite settling multiple lawsuits.
Now, over a decade later, and in the wake of the explosive allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein, one media behemoth has finally decided enough is enough.
In an e-mail obtained by The Telegraph, James Woolhouse, Condé Nast International’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, announced that Terry Richardson’s work would no longer be welcome in the company’s magazines which include international editions of Vogue, Wired, and GQ and a total readership in the tens of millions.
“I am writing to you on an important matter. Condé Nast would like to no longer work with the photographer Terry Richardson,” Woolhouse wrote. “Any shoots that have been commission[ed] or any shoots that have been completed but not yet published, should be killed and substituted with other material.”
The recent Harvey Weinstein revelations have unleashed a flood of scrutiny of long-rumored abusers in entertainment and media, with a few finally facing something like actual consequences.
Following the publication of a Los Angeles Times report detailing allegations against director James Toback, over 200 women have come forward to accuse the filmmaker of sexual harassment and assault. Amazon studio head Roy Price resigned after producer Isa Hackett accused him of aggressively, insistently propositioning her while both were working on “The Man in the High Castle.” Then there’s Bill O’Reilly, whose $32 million settlement with one of his alleged victims was revealed in The New York Times earlier this week. O’Reilly was forced out of Fox News earlier this year after a raft of sexual harassment allegations surfaced against him.
Weinstein himself was banned from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the group that administers The Academy Awards) after accusations against him surfaced.
But is it too little too late?
Critics have noted that Bill Cosby remains a member of the Academy despite continuing to face charges of aggravated indecent assault. So does Woody Allen, whose daughter Dylan Farrow accused the director of childhood sexual assault in a New York Times blog in 2014 (Allen later responded, denying the allegations). So does Roman Polanski, who was convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse in 1977.
Similarly, allegations against Richardson have been public for years, prompting some longtime observers to wonder what took Condé Nast so long.
I legitimately thought Terry Richardson was already banned from Vogue and now I’m retroactively embarrassed for everyone, what else is new
— Emily Yoshida (@emilyyoshida) October 24, 2017
Will it ever be better?
Thanks to the efforts and coordinated voices of hundreds of victims, some organizations are finally taking steps to banish the accused sexual predators in their midst. That’s unequivocally good news. And given how infrequently such alleged abusers face consequences, watching a few high-profile examples go down can feel like a dam breaking.
Will these same organizations listen to women the first time, next time?
That remains to be seen.
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