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New York Lawmakers Developing New Legal Protections For Models

Francois Mori
Francois Mori/AP

The amendment would hold clients hiring models liable for any sexual harrassment claims.

In the wake of sexual harrassment accusations against Harvey Weinstein, the fashion industry is taking a look at its own rape culture, and finding some changes need to be made.

New York State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (Democrat) has told the New York Timesshe's hard at work on a new amendment to the state's current anti-discrimination laws, seeking to extend further protections for fashion models. Specifically, the amendment would hold clients hiring models--photographers, designers, retailers--liable for any sexual harrassment claims.

Related | Joe Biden on Harvey Weinstein: Sexual Abuse is About Power

Currently, models are protected very little by law, as their employment often comes through indirect sources, such as agencies, claiming only to act in an "advisory capacity" toward models' bookings. This new legislation would finally remove that gray area.

"The goal is to push back on the silence that has been so pervasive, and find a legislative solution to change the cycle," Rozic told the Times.

The new amendment would be the second piece of victorious legislation for models in recent years--this most recent fashion week saw the implementation of a ban against underweight or underage models.

Related | Balenciaga Fires Casting Directors After Being Accused of Abusing Models

Earlier this year, casting director James Scully alleged that Balenciaga's casting agents Maida Gregori Boina and Rami Fernandes were "serial abusers." He accused them on Instagram of making models wait in a stairwell without lights for more than 3 hours at a casting.

Scully, who's become an industry whistleblower, delivered a 2016 speech that touched on fashion's mistreatment of models. "[The fashion industry is] so much more sadistic and so much more mean than you can believe," he said, asking the audience to "support girls more and stop treating them like Tinder swipes."

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