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)


Gigi Hadid hits back at paparazzi ‘stalking’ as photographer threatens legal action

Updated 21 October 2018
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Gigi Hadid hits back at paparazzi ‘stalking’ as photographer threatens legal action

DUBAI: US-Palestinian celebrity model Gigi Hadid is hitting back at a paparazzo who she says threatened her with legal action over a photo she posted on Instagram.

The model took to the social media platform over the weekend to reveal that she is being “legally pursued” for reposting a street style photo taken by a paparazzo, a snap which she has since removed from her social media feed.

“The photo is by a paparazzi and is of me on the street outside an event last week,” the 23-year-old told her 43.8 million followers. “I posed/smiled for the photo because I understand that this is part of my job,” Hadid wrote.
“These people make money off us every day, legally stalking us day in, day out,” she continued.
“It is not spoken about enough the mental/emotional toll that this kind of pressure has on people, days I (and countless others) have stayed inside because I don’t want my photo taken or to have that attention/suffocation while just trying to live as normally as possible,” the model added.

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Hadid went on to reveal the dangerous position some paparazzi put celebrities in on a daily basis.
“They drive dangerously close and extremely recklessly; they put the general public in danger in pursuit of a photo (I and many people I know have gotten in car accidents in cabs/car services because of paparazzi) and it seems that they can never get enough,” she wrote.
In the post, Hadid wrote that she found the uncredited image on Twitter and reposted in on Instagram, adding that she “had no way of knowing which of the 15+ photographers outside that day took these exact photos.
“If the person had just commented on my photo I would have been happy to tag and give you credit,” she added.
“To the paparazzi, I understand that this is how you make your living, and I respect that this is something I must accept with my job. But there is a line. We are human beings, and sometimes it takes a lot of courage to engage with you because of the resentment I feel for the negative parts of these experiences.”
Hadid’s statement garnered support from celebrities and models alike, with reality star Khloe Kardashian sharing her own experience in the comments section.

“I was sued for hundreds of thousands for posting a picture of myself. I don’t understand how it’s right that they literally stalk us and taunt us and they are allowed to sue us for posting our own photo,” she wrote.

Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowksi Candice Swanepoel and Olivia Culpo also left messages of support on the Instagram post, which had more than one million likes as of Sunday afternoon.