Photographers accused of sexual exploitation of male models

Los Angeles, Jan 14 (IANS) Photographers Mario Testino and Bruce Weber have been accused of sexually exploiting male models in incidents that date back to the 1990s.

Testino, who is known for taking iconic photographs of Diana, Princess of Wales, months before her death, and Weber have been suspended from working with publications like Vogue and GQ, reports The New York Times.

The two photographers exploited young assistants and models throughout their respective careers, subjecting them to sexual advances, including groping and masturbation, during photoshoots.

A number of models and former assistants have recalled alleged incidents to the publication, accusing Testino, 63, and Weber, 71, of sexual misconduct.

Surprised by the allegations, Weber through his lawyer said in a statement: “Shocked and saddened by the outrageous claims being made against me.”

The law firm that represents Testino has said they were equally “shocked by the allegations” and that the employees coming forward “could not confirm any of the claims”.

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”.

He claimed that when he told contemporaries he was working with the Peru-born photographer they would joke “tighten your belt”, labelling him as “notorious”.

Testino has worked with several celebrities including shots of singer Madonna’s baby pictures for Vanity Fair in 1998 and the February cover of US Vogue featuring American tennis player Serena Williams and her daughter. He was even awarded an OBE in 2014.

Fifteen models have come forward with allegations against Weber, who has photographed celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, David Bowie and Calvin Klein.

In light of the claims, publication Condé Nast has vowed to protect models from harassment and announced they would stop working with both photographers for now.

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