As the reckoning against sexual misconduct continues in Hollywood, it's effects are beginning to ripple outward into the other major industries poised around it. Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of how the fashion industry works understands that misogyny, racism and weaponized sexuality permeate an industry in which the most ultimate rule is "sex sells."
This weekend, the New York Times reported that fashion heavy hitters Mario Testino and Bruce Weber --both celebrated photographers who have worked for the likes of Vogue, Calvin Klein and Britain's royal family between them -- have been accused by numerous male models who say the men "sexually exploited them.
Weber has been accused by fifteen male models of fostering sets with an atmosphere of toxic sexuality, rife with "unnecessary nudity and coercive sexual behavior." One model, Robyn Sinclair, claims to remember Weber "putting his fingers in my mouth, and him grabbing my privates. We never had sex or anything, but a lot of things happened. A lot of touching. A lot of molestation."
The accusations, which stretch back to the 90s, allege to instances of unwanted groping and masturbation.
A response from Anna Wintour and Vogue came swiftly following the article's publication. Wintour describes the new policies Conde Nast has put in place to protect it's employees against unwanted sexual advances and makes it clear that they stand by the men accusing Weber and Testino.
"Even as we stand with victims of abuse and misconduct, we must also hold a mirror up to ourselves--and ask if we are doing our utmost to protect those we work with so that unacceptable conduct never happens on our watch," Wintour wrote in a statement. "Sometimes that means addressing the fact that such behavior can occur close to home. Today, allegations have been made against Bruce Weber and Mario Testino, stories that have been hard to hear and heartbreaking to confront. Both are personal friends of mine who have made extraordinary contributions to Vogue and many other titles at Conde Nast over the years, and both have issued objections or denials to what has emerged. I believe strongly in the value of remorse and forgiveness, but I take the allegations very seriously, and we at Conde Nast have decided to put our working relationship with both photographers on hold for the foreseeable future."