In an exclusive with our sister publication The Advocate, top models Barrett Pall and Kai Braden allege that they were sexually assaulted by photographer Rick Day when they were teenagers.
This news comes at a time when the discussion of consent between photographers and models has been intensified after The New York Times reported alleged abuse by Mario Testino and Bruce Weber and The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team revealed harassment allegations against photographers like Patrick Demarchelier and David Bellemere.
As Pall told The Advocate, he initially declined an opportunity to shoot with Day given his portfolio of nude and seminude shoots, but a go-see in October 2017 (where Day took a few head and body shots) led to a full shoot where Pall says, Day took erotic pictures and performed an unwanted sex act on the teenage model.
As The Advocate reported, Day pressured Pall to change in front of him, oil him up and told him to start rubbing himself to keep slightly erect to “fill out the underwear,” and then adjusted his underwear to graze his genitals inappropriately.
“Since the #MeToo movement started, I haven’t been able to go a day without feeling triggered and I now recognize I am suffering from PTSD,” Pall said to The Advocate. “Until you are in this position, you truly don’t know what it is like to have your career hanging over you. The predators in the fashion and entertainment industry run in circles, help each other out, and have each other’s backs. There is a reason why this systemic issue is only just coming out, and why it is not going to go away anytime soon.”
Pall began uploading YouTube videos discussing the dark side in his modeling career and says Day messaged him multiple times apologizing but not taking accountability.
The Advocate reached out to other models who have worked with Day, including Robert Sepulveda Jr., but many had had different experiences. "I never once felt intimidated or felt I had to do something I wasn’t comfortable with,” Sepulveda told The Advocate about working with Day.
But others, including Kai Braden, came forward when Pall’s story surfaced saying he was assaulted by Day in 2006 when he was 18. He alleges Day pinned him against the wall with his “hand around my neck” and his “mouth to ear.” When Braden started to panic, Day allegedly told him “it was OK, that I should just relax.”
“I remember he asked if I had ever had sex with a guy before, and I told him I had never had sex period,” the model told The Advocate. Day, whose fingers were on Braden’s anus, “seemed to ease off when I told him that.”
The Advocate reached out to Day, requesting comment on the allegations. He was initially interested in meeting in person to talk about the story, but a few hours later, responded with “no comment.”
For more on this story, including responses from Braden and Pall on this darker side of the modeling industry, head over to The Advocate to read the full exclusive.