Mario Testino and Bruce Weber accused of sexual exploitation

Mario Testino

Fashion Photographers Bruce Weber and Mario Testino Accused of Sexual Assault

A new expose by The New York Times, released Saturday, recounts the testimonies of 28 former and current models who claim they were sexually exploited by fashion photographers Mario Testino and Bruce Weber.

The Times reports that numerous models recounted a similar scenario when talking about Weber: a private "session" where he allegedly requested that the models take off their clothes and participate in "breathing" exercises.

Several models and ex-assistants of Testino accuse him of making increasingly aggressive sexual advances.

Mario Testino
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Testino is a Vogue favorite and has photographed prominent members of the British royal family, including Princess Diana.

Reps for both photographers are adamantly denying the models' accounts, which the Times said were recalled "with remarkable consistency".

Weber says he's "shocked and saddened" and denies the accusations.

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The paper reported that the legal firm representing Testino, 63, said those complaining of harassment could not be considered reliable, and that his lawyers had spoken to several former employees who were "shocked by the allegations" and "could not confirm any of the claims".

Actor Kevin Spacey was booted from various major projects after he was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple men.

One claimed that Weber put his fingers in his mouth, and added that they didn't have sex but there was "a lot of molestation" and touching.

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Model Ryan Locke describes Testino, who took the historic engagement portrait of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge in 2014, as a "sexual predator". "I threw the towel on him, put my clothes on and walked out". Some of Testino's accusers said that they would not speak publicly about the allegations, noting that they felt pressured to go along with his advances in order to preserve their careers.

"Sexual harassment was a constant reality", said Roman Barrett, an assistant to Testino in the late 1990s who said the photographer rubbed up against his leg with an erection and masturbated in front of him.

Model Jason Fedele is quoted as saying: "If you wanted to work with Mario, you needed to do a nude shoot at the Chateau Marmont". "In light of these allegations, we will not be commissioning any new work with Bruce Weber or Mario Testino for the foreseeable future".

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Recently, photographer Terry Richardson continued to work after being accused in a documentary of sexual assault of female models and denying their claims - until the Weinstein scandal broke. In a statement to the New York Times Condé Nast chief executive Robert A. Sauerberg Jr. and artistic director Anna Wintour, who is also the editor-in-chief of Vogue, said: "We are deeply disturbed by these accusations and take this very seriously".

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