For a fashion model, success is the ability to incite desire. The job requirements often include nudity and feigning seduction; provocation is a lever for sales. In the industry, boundaries between the acceptable and the unacceptable treatment of models have been etched in shades of gray.
This has allowed prominent photographers to cross the line with impunity for decades, sexually exploiting models and assistants. The experience, once seen as the price models had to pay for their careers, is now being called something else: abuse of power and sexual harassment.
Fifteen current and former male models who worked with Bruce Weber, whose racy advertisements for companies like Calvin Klein and Abercrombie & Fitch helped turn him into one of the foremost commercial and fine art photographers, have described to The New York Times a pattern of what they said was unnecessary nudity and coercive sexual behavior, often during photo shoots.
The men recalled, with remarkable consistency, private sessions with Mr. Weber in which he asked them to undress and led them through breathing and “energy” exercises. Models were asked to breathe and to touch both themselves and Mr. Weber, moving their hands wherever they felt their “energy.” Often, Mr. Weber guided their hands with his own.
“I remember him putting his fingers in my mouth, and him grabbing my privates,” said the model Robyn Sinclair. “We never had sex or anything, but a lot of things happened. A lot of touching. A lot of molestation.”
In accounts going back to the…Read More