The downfall of Harvey Weinstein has led many to examine misconduct within their own industries and fashion is no exception. Last month, model Edie Campbell wrote an open letter to express her disappointment with ongoing mistreatment and abuse of models. She applauded those like Cameron Russell – who have been providing a platform for others to share their experiences – but said that male models were often overlooked when it comes to claims of sexual assault.
The latest person to come forward is model Jason Boyce, who has filed a complaint to the New York State Supreme Court alleging that he was sexually assaulted by photographer Bruce Weber when attending a casting at his studio in 2014. First reported by the New York Post, the complaint claims that Weber locked the two of them in a room at the back of the studio, kissed the model and put his fingers in his mouth.
It goes on to say that the Boyce was told: “If you just had confidence, you’d go really far,” and “How far do you want to make it? How ambitious are you?” The model claims that because of Weber’s influence in the industry, his agency was keen for him to impress so he followed the photographer’s lead when he was asked to take off his shirt and underwear and had his hand guided to touch his own, and Weber’s, genitals.
Following the incident, the model claims “he experienced anxiety, depression and high levels of stress” and moved from New York to California to avoid running into the photographer at castings or shoots. This led to him being dropped from his agency in September last year. In the complaint, Boyce named Jason Kanner, founder of his ex-agency Soul Artist Management, and Little Bear Inc, the production company run by Nan Bush, Weber’s wife. The model is claiming $2m in damages.
The allegations against Weber are not the first against a photographer in the industry. In response to rumours around a New York Times investigation said to name a series of high-profile photographers, Weber’s representatives had previously told WWD, “Bruce believes everyone should, at all times, be treated fairly, correctly and with respect.” The photographer is yet to make a statement following the complaints against him directly and did not respond to WWD’s request for comment.