Bruce Weber and Mario Testino scandals: Famed photographers accused of sexually harassing men; Conde Nast overhauls policies for fashion shoots

January 13, 2018

by Colleen McGregor

Bruce Weber
Bruce Weber (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for DuJour)

Several fashion publications have cut ties with photographers Bruce Weber and Mario Testino after the New York Times published stories from men (mostly male models) who accused Weber and Testino of sexual harassment, including unwanted groping and masturbation. Condé Nast (the company that publishes Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ) has announced that it will no longer work with Weber and Testino. Weber and Testino are denying the allegations. The news comes one month after the New York Post reported that Weber is being sued for sexual harassment by model Jason Boyce, who claims that Weber made unwanted sexual advances on him during a December 2014 photo shoot.

Weber (who is 71) and Testino (who is 63) both have famous international careers going back to the 1970s. Their work has been published in several books and all the top fashion magazines. While both photographers worked frequently with fashion brand Versace, Testino’s main client base consisted of European brands such as Gucci, Chanel and Burberry, and Weber’s biggest clients were mostly American brands such as  Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie & Fitch. Weber’s most recent Vogue (U.S.) cover was the September 2017 issue with Jennifer Lawrence.  Testino’s most recent Vogue (U.S.) cover was the February 2018 issue with Serena Williams and her daughter Alexis. Fashion designer Michael Kors has also cut ties with Testino.

As a result of these and sweeping societal changes being made because of the MeToo movement, Condé Nast has revamped its policies for fashion shoots beyond the usual rules that forbid sexual harassment and other behavior that creates a hostile work environment. According to the New York Times,  Condé Nast will no longer hire models under 18, and will no longer serve alcohol on sets. Any nudity or sexually suggestive imagery must be approved by the modeling subject in advance. Photographers are no longer allowed to use Condé Nast sets for their personal projects after an assignment ends. And people involved in the assignment are encouraged to prevent a situation where two people are in alone in a room together. In addition, a hotline has been set up to report complaints anonymously.

Hearst Media (which publishes Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Esquire and other fashion magazines) also changed its policy for fashion shoots: Independent contractors are now required to reveal any past and present claims of harassment against them.

In late 2017, Condé Nast also severed its business relationship with photographer Terry Richardson, who has faced numerous accusations of sexual assault and sexual harassment over the years. Almost all of his accusers are female models who worked with him. Richardson (whose work often includes graphic sexual imagery) has claimed that these encounters were consensual, and he has not been arrested or charged with any sex crimes.