Fashion and Brand Photog Terry Richardson, Banned by Conde Nast, Now Under NYPD Scrutiny

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Terry Richardson on the cover of his 2002 book 'Terryworld,' published by Taschen.
Terry Richardson on the cover of his 2002 book 'Terryworld,' published by Taschen. Credit: Taschen

Photographer Terry Richardson, whose often risqué images have been featured in A-list fashion magazines as well as in ad campaigns for leading fashion brands, is under investigation by the New York Police Department, according to a report that appears in this morning's Daily News. The paper's Brian Niemietz and Nancy Dillon write that the NYPD's Special Victims Squad is on the case and that,

Multiple women confirmed Tuesday that investigators from the elite unit have reached out in recent weeks, asking for sit-down meetings regarding the lurid lensman. The development follows a Dec. 15 cover story in The News detailing new allegations of sexual assault against the 52-year-old former fashion industry star who's shot everyone from Beyoncé and Miley Cyrus to President Obama. Ex-model Caron Bernstein stepped forward in the piece with claims Richardson invited her to collaborate on an edgy, topless photo shoot at his Manhattan studio in 2003 and ambushed her with a sex assault.

Richardson had previously made headlines in October when The Telegraph reported that he'd been quietly but thoroughly banned by a glossy media empire that had kept him in steady employ. The U.K. paper's Ben Riley-Smith and Nick Allen reported then that,

An email circulated within the media group Condé Nast International on Monday [Oct. 23] and seen by this newspaper announced that the company would no longer work with him. Staff were told that any work already commissioned from Mr Richardson but not yet published should be "killed or substituted with other material."

Over the years, Richardson has shot covers and fashion features for Condé publications including Vogue and GQ. Other titles from other publishers, including Hearst's Harper's Bazaar and online fashion retailer Net-a-Porter's print magazine Porter, followed suit after Condé's move, saying that Richardson would no longer receive assignments from them. Brands that have given Richardson campaign work in the past, including Bulgari, Diesel and Valentino, also said that they would no longer hire him.

Richardson faced some scrutiny in 2014 when he was also accused of sexual misconduct. But the fashion-industrial complex was in a more forgiving mood back then. As The New York Times' Vanessa Friedman wrote in a Jan. 15, 2015 story titled "Terry Richardson Returns to Magazine Covers, Without a Fuss,"

As you may remember, early last year, a groundswell of condemnation surrounded Mr. Richardson, as model after model came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. Though no formal charges were filed, glossy magazines began to distance themselves from the photographer, who is known for his brightly lit, cheerfully lewd aesthetic, and there was a sense that perhaps, as my fellow critic Robin Givhan wrote, "the industry is tiring of porn references."

Guess not.

Friedman noted then that Richardson had resumed doing high-profile fashion editorial work within the year, "And he did it without, as far as I can tell, having to do any obvious self-improvement work or education. At least none that he has let anyone know about."

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