A week since it first dropped, and Jamie Peck’s story on The Gloss about a young writer (herself) hanging out with famous downtown photographer Terry Richardson – and the sexxxy advances he “hung out” towards her, which ended in an apparently disturbing (and quick) handjob – has (pun unintended) exploded. We picked it up and expressed our shock that anyone was shocked; Jezebel picked it up and tacked background onto it about Richardson from their own writer’s experiences, and then another series of stories after that. One very important thing is missing from all these stories:
Terry Richardson. Which speaks highly to the stories, however sourced or unsourced they might be.
The only proper defense that’s been put forward on Richardson’s behalf are designer Tom Ford and one model, . Nothing else. No comment, nothing, though it’s been noted that Richardson may have removed some of the racier pictures from his blog. This is a guy who’s shot pictures with everyone from President Obama to Elliot Spitzer, to cover stories for Rolling Stone, and ad campaigns for massive fashion labels. Terry Richarson isn’t just a photographer, but he’s a brand. And now, that brand is being associated with behavior that a lot of other brands aren’t going to be wanted to be associated with. Then again, the fashion world covets its stars, and its power, and who’re they to be pushed around by accusations of unsavory business practices?
They’re not, as evidenced by what little mainstream fashion coverage this story’s received. That said, there’s the old cliche that “silence implies consent,” which very often isn’t the case: subjects of potential slander and libel maintaining a dignified silence is often a good sign that they’re not scrambling to come to their own defense, because the truth is often a buoyant thing. In this case, that buoyancy seems to belong to all the women with stories about being made to feel uncomfortable by Richardson, as opposed to Richardson himself: they keep popping up, over and over. And where there’s enough smoke – and there’s plenty here – something’s burning or been burned, and in this case, it’s starting to rise. If Richardson has any quote to give us in any form, we’d absolutely hear him out. It doesn’t seem that Richardson has anything to say about it, though, and not because he’s waiting for more people to come to his defense. More likely the case is that there’s simply nothing to say about it, period. It’s just how it is.