January 15, 2018 at 1:54 pm EST | by Mariah Cooper
Vogue drops Mario Testino, Bruce Weber amid sexual misconduct allegations

(Mario Testino and Bruce Weber. Photos by Walterlan Papetti and Christoper Macsurak via Wikimedia Commons.)

Photographers Mario Testino and Bruce Weber have been dropped from Vogue and Condé Nast over sexual misconduct allegations from numerous male models in a report from the New York Times.

15 former and current male models accused Weber, known for his sexually charged ad campaigns for Abercrombie & Fitch, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, of being inappropriate with them during photo shoots.

“I remember him putting his fingers in my mouth, and him grabbing my privates,” model Robyn Sinclair told the New York Times. “We never had sex or anything, but a lot of things happened. A lot of touching. A lot of molestation.”

The models allege that Weber would require them to participate in nude “breathing exercises” which would involve Weber touching the models or them touching him. Model Joseph Ardolf says in 2011 when he was 20 years old Weber “forced his hand right on my genitals” during a breathing exercise. Ardolf feared he would lose future modeling opportunities if he spoke up.

“Like my agency said, he has a lot of power. He’s done a lot of large campaigns. That was in the back of my mind. ‘I can’t screw this up. I already made it this far,” Ardolf told the New York Times.

Testino also faces multiple sexual misconduct allegations from 13 male models and former assistants. The photographer is known for his work in Vogue and Vanity Fair including Vogue’s most recent cover shoot featuring Serena Williams. Testino also had a close working relationship with the British royal family. He photographed Princess Diana for Vanity Fair in 1997. Testino also photographed Prince William and Kate Middleton’s engagement photos and Princess Charlotte’s 2015 christening.

Model Ryan Locke calls Testino a “sexual predator” who made an unwelcome advance on him while they were shooting an ad for Gucci. Locke says while he was being photographed on a bed Testino asked everyone to leave the room so the two of them were alone.

“Then he crawls on the bed, climbs on top of me and says, ‘I’m the girl, you’re the boy,'” Locke says. “I went at him, like, you better get away. I threw the towel on him, put my clothes on and walked out.”

Testino’s former assistant Roman Barrett alleges that in the late ’90s Testino rubbed against his leg while having an erection. He then proceeded to masturbate in front of Barrett.

Both Weber and Testino have denied these allegations.

“I have used common breathing exercises and professionally photographed thousands of nude models over my career, but never touched anyone inappropriately. Given my life’s work, these twisted and untrue allegations are truly disheartening. I’ve been taking pictures for over 40 years and have the utmost respect for everyone I’ve ever photographed. I would never, ever, try to hurt anyone or prevent someone from succeeding — it’s just not in my character,” Weber said in the statement to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, Testino’s lawyers have questioned the credibility of the accusers stating that they “cannot be considered reliable sources.”

Vogue and Condé Nast have severed ties with the photographers. Creative Director of Condè Nast Anna Wintour released a statement saying that the publishing house’s work relationship with the two men has been put “on hold for the foreseeable future.”

“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 and many other titles at Condé Nast over the years, and both have issued objections or denials to what has emerged,” the statement reads. “I believe strongly in the value of remorse and forgiveness, but I take the allegations very seriously, and we at Condé Nast have decided to put our working relationship with both photographers on hold for the foreseeable future.”

Fashion brands Burberry, Michael Kors and  Stuart Weitzman have also confirmed to WWD that they will no longer be working with Weber or Testino.


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