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Fashion photographer Demarchelier accused of harassment

The Boston Globe published a bombshell expose on Friday accusing more than two dozen professionals in the fashion industry, among them legendary photographer Patrick Demarchelier, of sexual misconduct.

Fashion photographer Demarchelier accused of harassment
Patrick Demarchelier. Photo: Mike Pont/AFP
The paper's Spotlight team, which in 2002 unveiled widespread sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Boston, said more than 50 models had detailed alleged misconduct they had experienced, from touching to assault.
 
Collectively, they made credible claims against at least 25 photographers, agents, stylists, casting directors and other industry professionals, the Globe reported.
 
They include Demarchelier, fellow photographer Greg Kadel, who has worked for Victoria's Secret and Vogue, and stylist Karl Templer, who has worked with Coach, Zara, and Tommy Hilfiger.
 
The Globe said all of those accused had denied the allegations against them. Nevertheless, glossy magazine empire Conde Nast, whose company includes Vogue, had said it has stopped working for now with Demarchelier and Kadel.
 
The Globe said one of Demarchelier's former assistants complained about relentless sexual demands, to which she eventually submitted, fearing that she would otherwise endanger her position. Six other women accused the now 74-year-old Frenchman of unwanted advances, including thrusting a model's hands onto her genitals and grabbing another model's breasts, the Globe said.
 
Demarchelier did not immediately respond to an AFP request to comment. He was quoted by the Globe as saying the complaints against him were untrue.
 
“People lie and they tell stories,” he said.
 
The sexual harassment watershed engulfing the United States has already rocked the fashion industry, with allegations of misconduct seeing photographers Terry Richardson, Mario Testino and Bruce Weber barred from collaborating with Conde Nast.
 
The magazine empire has issued a new “Code of Conduct” to include bans on alcohol on sets and the use of models under the age of 18 without a chaperone present. Nudity or “sexually suggestive” poses are to be agreed on beforehand.
 
The Globe said some models wanted to expose serial predators while others wanted new legal protections and radical reform in an industry they say left them feeling exploited.

HARASSMENT

The woman behind France’s #MeToo in court accused of slander

The woman behind France's answer to the #MeToo campaign exposing abusive behaviour by men was to appear in court on Wednesday accused of slandering a media executive who she said had made lewd remarks.

The woman behind France's #MeToo in court accused of slander
US based French journalist Sandra Muller. Photo: AFP

Sandra Muller, a US-based French journalist, is being sued for defamation by senior French TV executive Eric Brion at a Paris court over a Twitter post accusing him of humiliating her with vulgar comments.

Both Muller and Brion, a media consultant and former head of TV channel Equidia, are expected to be in court when the hearing starts on Wednesday afternoon.

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Muller started a viral hashtag in French in October 2018, #balancetonporc (“expose your pig”), which called on Frenchwomen to name and shame men in an echo of the #MeToo movement that began in response to allegations that toppled movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

In her Twitter post, she told of how Brion had humiliated her, saying: “You have big breasts. You are my type of woman. I will make you orgasm all night.” 

The post led to an outpouring of tales of harassment and assault, which were hailed as ending a culture of permissiveness in France towards unwanted advances.

After apologising for his remarks, Brion nonetheless decided to launch legal action against her.

He is asking for €50,000 in damages, €15,000 in legal fees and the deletion of the tweet where his name is mentioned.

“This is someone who acknowledged initially unacceptable conduct, who said sorry, and then suddenly decided to go to court,” said one of Muller's lawyers, Francis Spinzer, before the start of the trial.

But Eric Brion contends that two tweets in particular sent by Muller presents him as a “sexual predator”, said his lawyer Nicolas Benoit.

“It is denunciation. At no time did he have the chance to defend himself.”

In an op-ed in Le Monde newspaper late last year, Brion admitted making “inappropriate remarks to Sandra Muller” at a cocktail party.

But he also accused Muller of “deliberately creating ambiguity about what happened” by linking it to the response to the Weinstein affair.

He complained of the severe personal and professional consequences of what he said was a “conflation of heavy-handed flirting and sexual harassment in the workplace”.

Many Frenchwomen made public their experiences of abusive behaviour by men in the wake of the #MeToo and #balancetonporc movements.

But there has also been controversy.

Last year a group of prominent French women, led by film star Catherine Deneuve, complained that the campaign against harassment had become “puritanical” and they defended the right of men to “hit on” women. 

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