Mario Testino will not take Royal wedding portraits after accusations of sexual exploitation

Fashion photographer Mario Testino. (AP)
Updated 15 January 2018
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Mario Testino will not take Royal wedding portraits after accusations of sexual exploitation

Fashion photographer Mario Testino has been ruled out as the official photographer for the British Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after being accused of sexually exploiting models and assistants.
In a sweeping new sexual misconduct investigation, The New York Times reported Saturday that several male models have accused the famed photographer of unwanted advances and coercion.
Testino had been the “front-runner” to take the wedding portraits, according to British daily The Telegraph, but has now been disqualified following allegations of sexual harassment.
Testino, adored by celebrities, glossy magazines including Vogue, became the Royal family’s preferred photographer after taking the last official portraits of Princess Diana before her death in 1997. Prince William and Kate Middleton chose Testino for their engagement in 2010 and picked him as photographer for their daughter princess Charlotte’s christening pictures in 2015.
The law firm representing Testino challenged the character and credibility of people who complained of harassment.
Testino’s attorney, Andrew Brettler, said in an email to The Associated Press late Saturday, “We are not providing any further comment at this time.”
Model Ryan Locke worked with Testino on Gucci ad campaigns and called him a “sexual predator.” He told the Times that when he told other models he was going to meet Testino for a possible casting “everyone started making these jokes — they said he was notorious, and ‘tighten your belt.’“
On the last day of a shoot, as they were taking photographs on a bed, Testino told everybody in the room to leave and locked the door, Locke recalled.
“Then he crawls on the bed, climbs on top of me and says, ‘I’m the girl, you’re the boy,’” Locke said. “I went at him, like, you better get away. I threw the towel on him, put my clothes on and walked out.”
Former assistants said Testino had a pattern of hiring young, heterosexual men and subjecting them to increasingly aggressive advances.
“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.
Several industries have been rocked by sexual-abuse allegations since women started coming forward to complain about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who has apologized for causing colleagues “a lot of pain” but has denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex.”
Revelations of abuse often have faded away in the fashion industry. Recently, photographer Terry Richardson continued to work after being accused in a documentary of sexual assault of female models and denying their claims — until the Weinstein scandal broke.
Conde Nast, which publishes Vogue and other top magazines, said it would stop working with Testino, at least for now.

(With AP)


Know your Arab jewelry designers

Updated 15 August 2018
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Know your Arab jewelry designers

DUBAI: The Arab world is known for its love of jewelry. Here are some emerging and established home-grown brands.

Alia bin Omair

Born in the UAE, Alia bin Omair’s collection, Leaf, is based on the ever-present palm trees found in the region.

Nuun Jewels

Nuun Jewels was founded by Saudi Arabian Princess Nourah Al Faisal, who opened a boutique on the shopping avenue Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris.

Mukhi Sisters

The Lebanese-Indian sisters Maya, Meena, and Zeenat Mukhi come from a long line of jewelers. Their line incorporates tradition with extravagant settings.

Bil Arabi

Lebanese designer Nadine Kanso launched her brand, Bil Arabi, in Dubai in 2006. It went on to quickly become one of the region’s hottest lines.

Jude Benhalim

Egyptian Jude Benhalim launched her jewelry brand when she was 17 in 2011 and hasn’t looked back since.

Azza Fahmy

The most well-known internationally, Egyptian Azza Fahmy began her trade in the 1960s when she became the first woman to serve an apprenticeship in Egypt’s jewelry district.