Terry Richardson Is a Big, Gigantic Pervert

I’m not sure how many times we have to rehash this but Terry Richardson is a gigantic pervert who uses his position of power to get women to do what they normally wouldn’t do. Usually it’s sexual stuff like fondling his balls or sucking him off or, in this most recent case, jacking off into their eye. This goes on all while he and his assistant take pictures like it was totally normal. He’s not the only photographer who does this but he is the most famous one who does. Last week on Reddit, a former model, Charlotte Waters, described her own experience with Terry Richardson. The post has since been deleted but a bunch of sites picked it up and she eventually did an interview with Vocativ. Here’s the original full text.

I originally posted about this in the AMA subreddit and someone directed me here as a better platform to share my experience.

Over the past few weeks I have seen several negative articles posted and shared from my friends about Terry Richardson and because these are real life acquaintances I’m not totally comfortable (yet) saying “hey, I experienced this first hand and these are not just rumors” and admitting to a naive past in which I was impressionable and taken advantage of… but I feel like it is extremely important for me to share my experience for the sake of other young women out there so I’m starting here. I want to not only warn against making the same mistake I did but possibly open up the dialogue about how/and why this sort of thing can happen so easily. Let me preface this by saying I am fully aware that this was bad decision making on my part and that the true purpose of me sharing this is I want people to know what is possible in these situations and that you as a human being are 100% allowed to say no to something you are uncomfortable with and I wish I had the strength to then.

So here is the full story (there is strong sexual content in this and could be a possible trigger):

When I was 19 and going to art school in NY I thought it would be fun to do nude “art” modeling on the side for money. I thought hey I am comfortable with my body and a creative, open minded person so this is a great idea, right?! So, for several months I was doing this for pay through model mayhem at first and then through different connections. My experiences were overall great, I was always comfortable and never felt like I was being taken advantage of or in danger. I was never touched or made to feel like I had to do something out of my comfort zone. In fact, I was having a lot of fun with this and actually got a friend of mine to start doing it as well. This is all until I modeled for Terry Richardson, which is the last time I’ve nude modeled.

I knew of Terry Richardson and I liked his aesthetic (at the time) but I didn’t know anything about him or his reputation. I saw his website one day and noticed that you could submit to model, so I did. I got a response (I’m assuming from his assistant) pretty quickly and thought cool! He’s a well known photographer this will only help me get more work, you know? So a time was set up and I went and this is how it went and down…

It was a Saturday early evening, I went to his studio in Soho. When I got there his assistant let me in and I met him. He was very smiley and his studio was just a big studio apartment type set up. We sat at his kitchen table, me, him, and his assistant. His assistant was probably like 40-45, dark hair, some work done on her face. We sat at the table and they were super casual, she was ordering food and asked if I wanted any I declined (I legitimately had a stomach infection building and went to the hospital that night but that’s another story). I remember he got this like lemon garlic pasta and thinking that sounded really good. So he ate, she ate I drank tea and he was doing something on his computer and she had me sign the model release forms. I don’t remember what they said, definitely not anything specific about what he would want to do though, I had signed several of these before and it looked the same. Eventually we got up to take pictures and he had me stand against the blank white wall in the middle of the apartment. I stood there and he started taking pics, assistant off to the side.

Then he came up and took pictures POV style with his hand on my face. Then he put his thumb in my mouth, I actually thought this was funny in the moment and he and his assistant were very upbeat and just light heartedly directing me. Then he stepped back at some point and had me start removing my clothes (I knew I would be getting nude, so this was not weird to me). I remember he had me take stuff off in stages, he complimented a lot, his assistant too. Definitely the usual trying to make the barely legal model feel special kind of thing looking back.

I honestly do not remember if the sexual stuff started by the wall or when he moved me to the couch area but at some point I was being directed to do things like hold the top of his pants while he took more POV style pictures, then eventually unbutton his pants and then his penis was out. Meanwhile it felt like it was all just happening and there was no time to step back and be like “woah this is out of hand”. I dont think anyone who knows me would describe me as a particularly aggressive person (and definitely wasn’t at 19) and the only way I can describe how I felt was nervous and paralyzed. At some point the assistant started taking pictures too with a crappy point and shoot camera. He had me posing on the couch and then I had my back to him and just literally felt him start licking my ass, like every part of it, and the assistant was taking pictures the whole time. Things were now completely pornographic and never once initiated by me. He was now on the couch with me and it became sexual act after sexual act, aggressive kissing, random sexual things being done to me and being directed to do everything you can think of back, everything slow so his assistant could photograph. He even directed me to squeeze his balls as hard as I could so that they pushed back up into his body. I did not even know that was possible (At least I learned something about the male anatomy that night?).

I was completely a sex puppet at this point. It ended with him jacking off on to my face and he told me to keep my eyes open really wide and his assistant stood over me and it got in my eye and they both began taking pics of it for a what felt like 10 minutes but was probably only 30 seconds… Finally, they backed off and were still acting like everything was totally fun and normal and upbeat or whatever and I think I was visibly in shock. I am a quiet person and I was definitely quiet in that moment and that’s when he asked if I had a boyfriend. I said yes and he started overly sweetly apologizing and so did his assistant. And he said oh I always mean to ask that first I’m so sorry. This was the part that actually bothered me the most because A. I think what had just happened was hitting me and B. it felt so fake and planned and like a slap in the face. I said it was fine that it didn’t matter and he wouldn’t care its ok (I don’t know why, obviously he would and did care. He knew I was nude modeling but nothing like this). Then I guess I cleaned up and got dressed and I don’t even remember saying bye or what happened as far as leaving the studio/apartment but his assistant wanted to come with me and paid for a cab and rode halfway with me and sort of comforted me I guess? She was giving me weird advice on how everything we did was ok and how I am clearly a strong girl but i wasn’t even asking for advice. Then she left at her destination and I went home. I told my roommate that night about it in disbelief. I still had that stomach infection going on and it got extremely bad that night and I ended up being taken to the hospital in an ambulance, looking back I am almost 100% sure this was more panic attack induced than the stomach infection alone.

I got a voicemail a couple weeks after from his assistant asking me to grow out my pubic hair and join her, him, and three girls my age on a shooting/camping trip. I did not respond.

Pushed by her friends, this week Waters went to the NYPD and filed a police report. She insisted she didn’t want to press charges but that didn’t matter anyway because there was nothing the cops could do since she went along with it. In a way, it makes sense. As awful as that may sound, if you don’t say “no” at any point, their hands are tied.

This has been going on for years yet celebrities still shoot with Richardson, Vanity Fair and the likes still commission him and everyone still loves him. So far, there has been very, very little backlash despite tons of these stories from different models. Styleite created a comprehensive timeline of everyone who’s come forward about Richardson. I’m going to copy it below because I’m too lazy to go through the archives to find them myself.

Terry’s intern Alex (2004) – Then a relative unknown, journalist Phoebe Eaton described shots of anonymous models sucking Terry off and pictures of his intern going down on him from inside a trash can.

Rie Rasmussen (2010) – Rie Rasmussen confronted Terry in Paris pissed that he used her photo alongside photos of naked underage girls in his coffee table version of his Terry World exhibit. ”He takes girls who are young, manipulates them to take their clothes off and takes pictures of them they will be ashamed of. They are too afraid to say no because their agency booked them on the job and are too young to stand up for themselves.” Terry fled the vent and complained to Rasmussen’s agency.

Jamie Peck (2010) – Jamie Peck writes about an experience she had with Terry at 19. Terry suggested she make tea with her bloody tampon and asked her to touch his dick which he just whipped out. He tries to make her feel comfortable by letting her take pictures of his dick. Then he suggests a handjob.

The Jezebel allegations (2010) – Models approached Jezebel to share similar stories. One model, Sarah Hilker, described how, at a party, there was a secret back room with girls and model release forms. There Terry was shooting a drunk, naked chick straddling a guy with an erection. One hand had her panties pulled to the side, the other was grabbing his cock. She immediately left.

Coco Rocha (2010) – Coco Rocha said she’d never work with Richardson again. She said simply, “I’ve shot with [Terry Richardson], but I didn’t feel comfortable and I won’t do it again.”

Sara Ziff and Alise Shoemaker (2014) –  Sara Ziff also said she wouldn’t work with him again reminding everyone about the numerous allegations of sexual assault and abuse. “You are going to a casting to possibly shoot with him for Harper’s BAZAAR, whose one of his clients. That’s a legitimate job, and he will ask you to take your clothes off for the casting and in some cases give him sexual favors. I have spoken with other models who have been in these situations, and he makes you feel like you’re being a prude or you are somehow weird if you are not willing to just go with the flow because it’s all cool. It’s all fine.”

Despite years of allegations, Richardson is still popular and people like Jared Leto, Miley Cyrus, Miranda Kerr and others will continue posing in front of his white wall because despite what everyone says, he actually does have talent and captures his subject brilliantly and I guess that’s enough to overlook the no-name models he convinces to suck him off.

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8 years ago

The parents of the “child stars” he’s molested need to come forward! (like THAT’S ever going to happen)

Simon McAndrew
8 years ago

One other comment! I mean what is the hush up all about? Am I actually dreaming here? What is everyone so s**t scared about?

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