You may not know Mario Testino‘s name, but you know his work. The 63-year-old fashion photographer has captured the likenesses of the Royal family and many other well known celebrities, including Serena Williams for the latest cover of Vogue. But his name is now making headlines after the New York Times reports that 13 male models and assistants who’ve worked with the famed photographer allege that he committed various acts of sexually inappropriate behavior toward them. The NYT also reports that fashion photographer Bruce Weber, who contributed to Vogue in the past, as well, faces sexual misconduct claims from 15 different male models.
One of the claims comes from Hugo Tillman, who started freelancing as a photo assistant for Mario in 1996, and eventually became his fourth assistant. “I was often made to feel uncomfortable on shoots, asked to massage Mario in front of other assistants, models and fashion editors,” Tillman alleges in the New York Times pice. He goes on to clim that Mario once allegedly grabbed him on the street and tried to kiss him. He also allegedly met Mario in a hotel room during a business trip, where he claims the photographer allegedly threw him on a bed, climbed on top of him, and pinned down his arms. At that point, Mario’s brother allegedly came into the room and told him to get off the assistant.
“Sexual harassment was a constant reality,” alleges another of Testino‘s assistants from the late ’90s, Roman Barrett, who also claimed the photographer rubbed up against his leg with an erection and masturbated in front of him. “He misbehaved in hotel rooms, the backs of cars and on first-class flights,” he said. “Then things would go back to normal, and that made you feel gaslighted.”
While Voguehas worked with both Mario and Bruce, and with Mario as recently as their February 2018 issue, they will no longer be working with either of the photographers in light of the allegations. “We are deeply disturbed by these accusations and take this very seriously—as previously noted in our statement regarding sexual harassment,” a Vogue spokesperson tells HollywoodLife “In light of these allegations, we will not be commissioning any new work with them for the foreseeable future.”
In a statement posted on the Vogue website, Anna Wintour also addressed the accusations, while noting that the magazine’s publisher, Condé Nast, is rolling out a new Code of Conduct for outside contributors, which includes that models must pre-approve shoots that involve nudity or sexually suggestive poses. “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 Condé Nast over the years, and both have issued objections or denials to what has emerged,” Anna wrote. “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.”
Mwbuzzers, this story is still developing. We will keep updating as more information unfolds.