In media, in politics and in Hollywood, the usual script followed by people accused of sexual harassment or assault in the last five months has been to hire a crisis manager, to apologize for the offensive behavior (usually while denying ill intent) and maybe enter rehab.
In fashion, a world where sex is part of the landscape and the definition of acceptable behavior has long been blurry, there are still few apologies.
More often, there is an aggressive response to accusations, leaving colleagues and business partners in a state of doubt — or denial.
Last week, Paul Marciano, a founder of Guess, said he was temporarily relinquishing his day-to-day responsibilities at his company after Kate Upton accused him of groping, harassment, intimidation and firing her from jobs. He called her accusations “preposterous.”
Patrick Demarchelier, who is one of the most famous photographers working; Karl Templer, a top stylist; and Greg Kadel, a photographer known for his work with Victoria’s Secret, were all named in a recent Boston Globe report about sexual harassment in the fashion business.
After three models said Mr. Templer had touched them inappropriately, he issued an open letter that said he was sorry “if” he had “ever inadvertently treated a model disrespectfully or without due care.” Mr. Kadel, accused of assault, had a representative say that he had “never sexually coerced or assaulted anyone in his life.” But Mr. Demarchelier, accused of aggressive and unwanted advances? “People lie and they tell stories,” he told The Globe, saying his accusers were people who get “frustrated if they don’t work.”
When The New York Times published accusations from more than a dozen male models and photography assistants that the photographer Mario Testino had sexually harassed or assaulted them in the course of work, he was also not apologetic. Through his attorneys, Mr. Testino said that some of his accusers were mentally ill or were disgruntled employees.
Giovanni Testino, Mario’s brother, is a founder of Art Partner, an influential agency that represents photographers, creative directors and stylists, including the photographer Terry Richardson.
In January, Giovanni sent a letter to his clients, obtained by The Times, criticizing reporting on sexual harassment.
It read, in part: “I’m sure you all have read the allegations against my brother Mario in the papers this weekend. I am shocked by the news and am deeply saddened and disturbed by this phenomenon where media has take upon itself to be both judge and jury; where one is guilty until proven innocent based only on accusations.”
This week, Maria Grazia Chiuri, the creative director of Dior, provided a statement regarding the allegations about Mr. Templer, who had styled the house’s shows since she joined the brand, and with whom she had worked in her previous role at Valentino. “I really hope that the truth will come out very soon,” Ms. Chiuri wrote. “I think in this difficult period it is wise to give Karl Templer the time to officially clarify the situation so that we can continue our collaboration in the very near future.”
The fashion companies who moved quickly to distance themselves from Mr. Testino — and from the photographer Bruce Weber, who was also accused in the Times article by models of sexualized abuse of his authority — also had caveats.
Condé Nast declared it would not work with Mr. Testino and Mr. Weber “for the foreseeable future,” an addendum that New York magazine recently characterized as “not exactly Time’s Up — more like Let’s Give It Time.”
At a Bottega Veneta show in New York City last month, Stephen Gan, the editor of V, asked a reporter if the whole thing with Mr. Weber would “blow over” — though he later said he had no additional shoots scheduled with Mr. Testino.
All of this makes it seem possible that many of the men accused of misconduct will be welcomed back into the industry in the future. Given the range of allegations, this could lead to even greater confusion about what is acceptable professional behavior, instead of real change.
Out of concern that fashion may revert to the status quo, since the publication of the Times article nearly two months ago, more male models and assistants have come forward to say they were harassed, often in situations linked to promises of work, by Mr. Testino between 1995 and 2015. Some said they wanted to speak out now because of what they saw as attempts to undermine the previous accusers.
Each of these men described making it clear to Mr. Testino that they were not going to have sex with him. For some, when they did, Mr. Testino’s professional interest in them ended abruptly.
“I continue to deny any wrongdoing,” Mr. Testino said in a statement provided by his lawyers this week, when presented with these new accusations from five men, bringing the total number of accusers to 18. “However, in the current environment, accusations like the ones leveled against me have proved to be just as damning and devastating as actual proof of wrongdoing, which they are not. It has become nearly impossible — and certainly unpopular — for anyone to try and defend himself against these types of allegations. It is important to hear both sides of every story, with no preconceived ideas, before jumping to judgment.”
Oliver Bjerrehuus, a Danish model who has appeared in advertising campaigns for Prada, Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, Nautica and Dolce & Gabbana, met Mr. Testino in the mid-’90s. Mr. Bjerrehuus assented to being photographed naked.
Then, he said, Mr. Testino reached to grope his genitals “and I grabbed his throat,” he said. “An assistant rushed in, and I said to Mario, ‘Get that camera and shoot the picture. You at least owe me that.’ I told him that because I knew that if you did a shoot with Mario Testino or Bruce Weber people would mention it and it would do something good for your career.” But the pictures were never published and, he never worked for Mr. Testino again.
In 2010 Cory Bond, a model who has appeared in campaigns for Dolce & Gabbana and Guess, met Mr. Testino. In a recent Instagram post, Mr. Bond described an incident that began when Mr. Testino “came for drinks with me, my wife and his friend,” and “talked of these amazing shoots that we could shoot together.”
When the two wound up alone together, Mr. Bond wrote, “He got very close to me and just shoved his hand down my pants and I retreated backward. He told me, ‘Everyone does this. I have couples that I love to shoot that do everything (whatever that meant). I said, ‘Well, I’m not everyone.’ He then immediately left. He never contacted me again.”
That was around the time Shaun Hartas, then a 27-year-old aspiring photographer, began assisting Mr. Testino.
There was nothing quite like getting to work for Mr. Testino, who that very year photographed 10 of the 12 covers of Vogue.
Mr. Testino was smart and charismatic, “the life of every party,” Mr. Hartas said. But it came with a downside.
“I worked for him for 15 months, and for 15 months I was harassed. It never stopped,” Mr. Hartas said. Most mornings Mr. Testino was in New York, Mr. Hartas said that he would pick up Mr. Testino at his apartment building on Bond Street and drive him to set in a Range Rover.
“Every day he would sit in the front and try to grab my” genitals, Mr. Hartas said. “He would ask, ‘Are you straight or are you gay?’ I’d say, ‘Straight,’ and he’d say, ‘No, you have to be nothing. If you’re nothing, you can be everything. The second you label yourself, you limit yourself.’ He would say, ‘Maybe you can come to London and Paris?’”
Mr. Hartas recalled, “It was like there was this lifestyle he’d welcome you into if you gave him what he wants.”
One morning that spring, Mr. Hartas and Mr. Testino were on their way to photograph Sarah Jessica Parker for the August cover of Vogue. According to Mr. Hartas, Mr. Testino was being particularly aggressive. Mr. Hartas asked him to stop fondling him.
He said he was told by Mr. Testino to wait in the car while Mr. Testino did his shoot, and was never booked to work with Mr. Testino again. Two longtime fashion industry professionals corroborated that Mr. Hartas began telling them he was being harassed months before he stopped working for Mr. Testino.
In 2013, the photographer Edward Mulvihill started freelancing for Mr. Testino. “I’d been warned,” he said. “I’d heard the stories going into this. The rumors were all true.”
One of Mr. Mulvihill’s first tasks was traveling with Mr. Testino to Los Angeles, where they were shooting the fall 2013 campaign for Michael Kors and a new cover of Brazilian Vogue featuring Pamela Anderson. “It was kind of a joke among the crew that being the new guy traveling to Los Angeles, you had to stay in Mario’s house the first night, and that you’d better watch out,” Mr. Mulvihill said.
After dinner, Mr. Mulvihill returned to Mr. Testino’s home in the Hollywood Hills. Mr. Mulvihill said he was provided with his own room and his own bed, but “it was Mario trying to get me drunk, Mario trying to kiss me, and Mario trying to jump on me,” he said. “Later, we were riding in an elevator somewhere and he just shoved his hands down my pants and tried to finger me.” Mr. Mulvihill said he was offered full-time work, which he declined. (Like Mr. Hartas, Mr. Mulvihill referred The Times to people who said they were told of this back then, years before allegations against Mr. Testino became public.)
Both Mr. Mulvihill and Mr. Hartas said that they were coming forward about Mr. Testino’s behavior out of solidarity with the initial group of accusers. “I don’t want to see those brave men get discredited,” Mr. Hartas said.
In 2015, Mr. Testino was back in Los Angeles, and was introduced by an agent to a model named Kenny Sale at a bar.
Much like Mr. Hartas, Mr. Sale said he was also asked repeatedly that evening if was straight or gay. “He kept saying, ‘So, are you into guys?’ and I would say, ‘I have a girlfriend.’ He just brushed that off and said, ‘Maybe you should try something new. Maybe you’d like it.”
Later, Mr. Sale ended up in a bathroom with Mr. Testino. “He just pushes me up against the wall and sticks his tongue down my throat,” Mr. Sale said. “I’d never experienced anything like that. He pressed me up against the wall again, and that time his hand went down my pants, first in the front and then around the back. He used his hand to give me a ‘prostate exam.’”
Mr. Sale said he was asked to drive Mr. Testino home and didn’t know quite how to get out of it. “As I was driving, he unbuttoned my pants and grabbed my penis,” he said. “I guess I could have pulled over, but I had a white-hot feeling going down my spine and I was so embarrassed I didn’t know what to do.”
He still questions himself and said he was also coming forward now out of solidarity with the men who came before him, though he hadn’t met any of them. “I don’t want it to happen again,” he said.