When NSFW photos of Miley Cyrus by Terry Richardson hit the Web at the beginning of October, "Wrecking Ball" fans were hardly surprised by the scandalous images. But a new report by the New York Post paints Richardson in a far worse light, calling him a "pervert" who has sexually exploited and abused young models.
According to the Post article, supermodel Rie Rasmussen was horrified by Richardson's treatment of models. "I told him [that] what you do is completely degrading to women," she said. "I hope you know you only f**k girls because you have a camera, lots of fashion contacts and get your pictures in Vogue."
The Danish model was photographed by Richardson when she was young, and was allegedly asked to perform sexual acts on him while his assistants took photos. Once Rasmussen spoke out about her experience, many other actresses and models came forward, most of them anonymous, saying that they too had been sexually exploited or forced to do things for the photographer. The models said that Richardson would drop names in hopes that they would do him the sexual favors.
Coco Rocha was one of the many models who came forward saying: "I've shot with [Richardson], but I didn't feel comfortable and I won't do it again." Model Jamie Peck said she was only 19 when Richardson asked her to strip naked. The photographer reportedly disrobed himself and asked for sexual favors.
In Cyrus' video shot by Richardson, she swings around naked on a wrecking ball and even licks a sledgehammer. In his photos, Cyrus is seen in many promiscuous outfits and poses. Widely credited — or blamed — for Cyrus' raunchy transformation the last six months, Richardson has photographed the singer holding two marijuana joints, sexually licking an ice cream cone and wearing close to nothing.
Though many fashion insiders admit that Richardson is talented, it is clear that his photos often involve more nudity than those of other photographers. Richardson reportedly said: "My rule is that I'd never ask anyone to do anything I wouldn't do myself. At first, I'd just want to do a few nude shots, so I'd take off my clothes, too. I'd even give the camera to the model and get her to shoot me for a while. It's about creating a vibe, getting people relaxed and excited. When that happens, you can do anything."
While Richardson views Miley Cyrus-type pictures as "creating a vibe," critics are highly concerned that the images and shoots are pornographic in nature. Many models have said they have felt uncomfortable with the dynamics during shoots.
Fans of the "Wrecking Ball" video see Richardson's images differently. They believe he's just finding another way to push the envelope. Though Richardson hasn't responded to specific allegations, he did recently write a brief statement on his blog saying he was hurt by the models' claims. "I'm really hurt by the recent and false allegations of insensitivity and misconduct," he wrote.
"I feel fortunate to work with so many extraordinary people each and every day. I've always been considerate and respectful of the people I photograph and I view what I do as a real collaboration between myself and the people in front of the camera."