Veteran photographer Mario Testino – a global icon in celebrity and fashion photography – has been accused of sexual harassment by 13 people.
Fashion photographer Bruce Weber – already sued over harassment claims in December by model Jason Boyce – was also implicated in a New York Times article on allegations against both photographers.
The allegations are the latest in a deluge of accusations concerning influential figures in entertainment, media, fashion and politics, sparked by revelations about long-time film producer Harvey Weinstein.
Peruvian-born Testino, 63, has photographed dozens of campaigns for big fashion houses and seen his work published in the likes of Vogue magazine over his career, which has spanned four decades.
His photograph of tennis player Serena Williams and her baby daughter appears on Vogue’s February edition, unveiled this week – while his other works include the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement photo and a series of images of Princess Diana in 1997 published in Vanity Fair.
Several models and ex-assistants of Testino accuse him of making increasingly aggressive sexual advances.
“He was a sexual predator,” said Ryan Locke, a supermodel in the late 1990s.
Locke alleged that during a photo shoot on a bed, Testino asked his team to leave the room and then climbed onto the bed on top of him.
“I’m the girl, you’re the boy,” the photographer allegedly told the model, who said he walked out of the room.
A former photography assistant, Hugo Tillman, recalled a similar experience – while another, Roman Barrett, accused Testino of rubbing up his leg and masturbating in front of him.
“Sexual harassment was a constant reality,” he said.
Mario Testino did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
For the same New York Times article, 15 current or retired male models also accused Bruce Weber of sexual harassment. Weber also did not respond to a request for comment.
Conde Nast – publisher of glossy magazines including Vogue – said it would stop working with the two photographers.
“We are deeply disturbed by these accusations and take this very seriously,” CEO Bob Sauerberg and Vogue editor Anna Wintour said in a joint statement.
“In light of these allegations, we will not be commissioning any new work with Bruce Weber or Mario Testino for the foreseeable future,” they added.
The company also announced it had begun to formulate a code of conduct to protect models from sexual harassment in October, according to The Times.
The newspaper reported the guidelines include a ban on under-18 models and alcohol on sets – and recommend that models are not left alone with photographers or other team members.
Nudity or poses of a “sexually suggestive” nature will be detailed and agreed upon before a shoot.
In October, several magazines and fashion houses also said they would no longer work with fashion photographer Terry Richardson after he too was accused of harassing models, following years of rumours about his behaviour.