Following the explosive exposés by the New York Times and the New Yorker that accused movie executive Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment back in October, many men and women have spoken out about misconduct they’ve experienced in the workplace, especially those in the fashion industry.
Models have come forward and accused Guess designer Paul Marciano and photographers Mario Testino and Bruce Weber of sexual harassment. While some magazines have publicly announced that they will no longer work with some of those accused, one model, Teddy Quinlivan, is taking a stricter stand to make sure other models don’t encounter what she did.
Quinlivan, 23, was discovered by Louis Vuitton’s creative director Nicolas Ghesquière in 2015 and has worked with every major designer (recently walking in Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent and Dior) and magazine (Vogue, Vogue Japan and I-D). But on Tuesday, she announced that she will no longer work with brands or publications that collaborate with anyone accused of assault, sharing her own personal accounts of sexual harassment on Instagram.
“If making the fashion industry safe for everyone isn’t a priority of yours then I don’t feel comfortable participating in your future projects,” she wrote. “I would like to formally announce that I refuse to work with brands and publications who continue to collaborate with accused offenders of assault. There is no fashion show, editorial, campaign, or event that is more important than the safety and well being of both myself and remarkable men and women I work with.”
In her powerful message, she revealed another bombshell message — that she was the victim of sexual workplace misconduct. “When I became a model I knew I would be working long hours and there would be times when people would be mean or critical towards me,” she wrote. “What I didn’t expect was for a casting director my first season to force himself on me and offer to put me on the cover of magazines in exchange for sex, or the time a stylist stuck his fingers inside my underwear on a closed set and attempted to pull off my underwear without warning, or the time a photographer groped me and pinched my nipple.”
She said events like those were something she “couldn’t have been prepared for.”
“I didn’t think it could or would ever happen to me… But it did. So when I see accused perpetrators of assault get a pass because their friends and colleagues don’t believe or care for the victims who’ve come forward it makes me sick.”
Quinlivan is using her powerful and visible platform within the fashion industry has to enact change regarding workplace misconduct and another important issue — embracing the transgender community.
Last fall, she announced her transgender identity for the first time in an interview with CNN. “I’ve decided to reveal my trans identity because of the political climate in the world right now — particularly in the United States,” Quinlivan said. “We made an amazing progression under the Obama administration, and since the new administration took office there’s been a kind of backlash.”
And she announced that she would use her visibility in the fashion world in a positive way. “I think one of the ways we can help people in the trans community is to give them a platform,” Quinlivan said. “And I think the fashion industry plays a very crucial role in that. The fashion industry dictates what’s in fashion, what’s cool, what’s acceptable. It’s not just about who’s walking fashion shows … it’s about who’s on every newsstand in the country.”
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Many publications have already stopped working with photographers accused of sexual harassment, after Condé Nast — which publishes Vanity Fair and Vogue — announced after accusations against Testino and Weber were made public that they will not with with them in the “for the foreseeable future.”
“We are deeply disturbed by these accusations and take this very seriously. In light of these allegations, we will not be commissioning any new work with Bruce Weber and Mario Testino for the foreseeable future,” wrote Anna Wintour — Condé Nast’s artistic director and editor of Vogue — and Robert A. Sauerberg Jr, chief executive of Condé Nast, according to the Times.
After model Kate Upton accused Guess’ Marciano of sexual harassment, Marciano announced that would give up his day-to-day responsibilities at the company until the sexual misconduct investigation is complete.
“I have pledged my full cooperation to the Company, and I have the utmost confidence in our CEO, Victor Herrero, to continue leading the Company during this time,” Marciano said in a statement.