Another day, another woman with Stockholm syndrome looking to score brownie points with the fashion industry and/or the patriarchy at large by defending Terry Richardson.
20-year-old model and face of Maybelline Charlotte Free has taken to twitter to victim-blame all of the young women who’ve acquiesced to Uncle Terry’s rather unprofessional demands, felt gross and weird about it afterwards, and then dared to talk about said weirdness in public. (Hi!) In response to a question posited to her on Tumblr, she wrote the following:
Q: How do you feel about all of the negative accusations against terry richardson?
A: i love terry’s raw sexuality, it’s one of the things i really admire about him. Terry likes to do sexy stuff, that’s his shit. If you don’t wanna be part of it, make it clear in the beginning. Don’t willingly blow the man and get all mad and ashamed later…I hate when girls say ‘but he asked me to.’ you should have said no then, stupid bitch! there’s plenty of other girls waiting in line, so he’s not forcing you to do shit. When you make a choice you have to live with it — unless someone got you fucked up against your will. Thats how I feel about it.
The post has since been deleted. Oh, Charlotte. I’d be lying if I said my first reaction wasn’t wanting to give this little twerp a swirlie, because I do not react well to 20-year-olds with shitty dye jobs and shittier politics calling me a “stupid bitch.” My second is one of vague concern, because her screed kind of reads to me like, “in a hypothetical situation in which I had to give Terry Richardson a blow job to get him to shoot me, that would be totally okay, and I would promise never to be ungrateful to my Uncle Terry lest he should put me on some sort of industry black list. YOU DON’T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT ME BREAKING THE SILENCE, BRO.” But hopefully I’m wrong.
By her logic, we should do away with all sexual harassment laws, because there is no such thing as an unequal power relationship, and if someone doesn’t want to do sexual favors in return for a job, they should probably just go find a job without that particular requirement in place. Which would be completely left up to the person doing the hiring. Sounds fair to me!
I also want to emphasize one more time that I did not intend my Terry Richardson story as mere retaliation, but a window into a practice that is disturbingly common but seldom talked about in an industry with few workers’ rights.
And as for the oft-asked question of “why did you, Jamie Peck, decide to do that if you didn’t want to,” I think the specific answer is much less interesting than the fact that a well-respected fashion photographer regularly asks models (not just randos like me, but actual models who are just trying to survive) for blowjobs at what are supposed to be regular nude shoots and/or job interviews. Let’s not look at a systemic problem in a myopic way. From prostitutes to trophy wives, I will never blame a woman for making a choice she personally finds disempowering in order to get by in a patriarchal society. I will, however, blame the people who continue to recreate the conditions whereby those choices remain compelling.
That said, I welcome Ms. Free to debate me on this issue in the public forum of her choosing. From her behavior thus far, I expect her to be nothing less than completely thoughtful and courteous.
Photo: Terry Richardson