Male models accuse prominent photographers of sexual harassment

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Publishing giant Condé Nast has said it would stop working with both men in the wake of a New York Times report Saturday that quoted current and former male models and male assistants who accused Weber and Testino of abusing their power by subjecting them to coercive sexual behavior.

As for Weber, 71, several models told The Times that during private sessions with him, he would pressure them to pose nude for test shoots, and would initiate "breathing exercises" that would lead to inappropriate touching.

Weber is known for his provocative photo shoots for brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Calvin Klein.

Thirteen male models and assistants also alleged photographer Mario Testino subjected them to sexual advances including groping and masturbation.

Testino is a Vogue favorite and has photographed prominent members of the British royal family, including Princess Diana.

Representatives for both photographers said they were dismayed and surprised by the allegations.

In a statement from his attorney, Weber said: "I'm completely shocked and saddened by the outrageous claims being made against me, which I absolutely deny".

Law firm Lavely & Singer, which represents Testino, challenged the credibility and characters of the people accusing him of harassment, writing that it had spoken with several former employees of Testino who were "shocked by the allegations" and "could not confirm any of the claims".

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Model Ryan Locke worked with Testino on Gucci ad campaigns and calls him a "sexual predator".

"Like my agency said, he has a lot of power".

Even as we stand with victims of abuse and misconduct, we must also hold a mirror up to ourselves - and ask if we are doing our utmost to protect those we work with so that unacceptable conduct never happens on our watch.

"I remember him putting his fingers in my mouth, and him grabbing my privates", model Robyn Sinclair said. Some of Testino's accusers said that they would not speak publicly about the allegations, noting that they felt pressured to go along with his advances in order to preserve their careers. "[But] if you said you were not going to work with someone like Bruce Weber or Mario Testino, you might as well just pack it in and go work in another industry". He recalled attending a casting in Testino's hotel room, where he allegedly greeted the model in a robe.

"Then he crawls on the bed, climbs on top of me and says, 'I'm the girl, you're the boy, '" Locke said. "I threw the towel on him, put my clothes on and walked out".

In a joint statement, Condé CEO Bob Sauerberg and Ann Wintour, artistic director and the editor-in-chief of Vogue, stated, "We are deeply disturbed by these accusations and take this very seriously, as previously noted in our statement regarding sexual harassment".

"I believe strongly in the value of remorse and forgiveness, but I take the allegations very seriously, and we at Conde Nast have chose to put our working relationship with both photographers on hold for the foreseeable future", she said in a statement.

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