Mario Testino and Bruce Weber have been accused of sexually exploiting male models in allegations that date back to the mid-1990s.
Testino, who is renowned for taking the most iconic photographs of Diana, Princess of Wales months before her death, and Weber have since been suspended from working with Condé Nast titles such as Vogue and GQ.
According to a New York Times investigation, the two acclaimed photographers exploited young assistants and models throughout their respective careers, subjecting them to sexual advances, including groping and masturbation, during photoshoots.
A number of models and former assistants have recalled alleged incidents to The New York Times that accuse both Testino, 63, and Weber, 71 of sexual misconduct.
Both men have been surprised by the allegations, with a statement from Weber’s lawyer saying he is “shocked and saddened by the outrageous claims being made against me”.
Meanwhile, the law firm that represents Testino has said they were equally “shocked by the allegations” and that the employees coming forward “could not confirm any of the claims”.
Model Ryan Locke describes Testino, who took the historic engagement portrait of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge in 2014, as a “sexual predator”.
He claimed that when he told contemporaries he was working with the Peru-born photographer they would joke: “tighten your belt”, labelling him as “notorious”.
Locke recalls going to a casting at Testino’s hotel and being asked to take a nude test shot, something he disputed.
Testino’s work is widely acclaimed in the industry and his charming reputation made him a hit with celebrities.
He shot Madonna’s baby pictures for Vanity Fair in 1998 and most recently took the February cover of US Vogue featuring Serena Williams and her daughter – he was awarded an OBE in 2014.
Fifteen models have come forward with allegations against Weber, who has photographed Leonardo DiCaprio and David Bowie and is renowned for his work with Calvin Klein.
“I remember him putting his fingers in my mouth, and him grabbing my privates,” recalls model Robyn Sinclair.
“We never had sex or anything, but a lot of things happened. A lot of touching. A lot of molestation,” he said of the American photographer.
In light of the claims, Condé Nast has vowed to protect models from harassment and announced they would stop working with both photographers for now.
“We are deeply disturbed by these accusations and take this very seriously,” reads the statement released by Anna Wintour, artistic director, and Robert A. Sauerberg Jr, chief executive.
“In light of these allegations, we will not be commissioning any new work with Bruce Weber and Mario Testino for the foreseeable future.”
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies