Over on her personal Tumblr, model Charlotte Free responded publicly to an anonymous question pertaining to photographer Terry Richardson's allegedly creepy and abusive working style. (The model has entertained a very cozy relationship with Richardson over the course of her career.) The post has since been deleted, but a screenshot of Free's response made its way onto the TFS Forums yesterday — you can see it below, and here's the unedited text in full:
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."
Free's probably referring to a widely-distributed account written by Jamie Peck, one of Richardson's one-time photo subjects, which describes the photographer "waggling" his penis in Peck's direction and asking for a handjob during their session. The article is often cited as evidence that the photographer's reputation for being a creep who takes advantage of his young subjects is earned and not a Pride and Prejudice-type misjudgment of character.
Free doesn't believe people should be held accountable for sexual harassment or assault if they don't forcibly hold someone down and have sex with them against their will, and well, I guess that's an opinion. But it's one that privileges Terry's comfort and happiness above anyone else's: There are "plenty of other girls waiting in line," and the young women given the chance to shoot with one of the fashion industry's most prominent photographers are going to do what it takes to make him happy. That shouldn't have to include interfacing with his penis.
It's useful to remember that aspiring models are young, and that means something. When I was 18, 19, 20, I had no idea what was normal or expected of me, but I badly wanted people to accept me as an adult. I think that's the experience a lot of girls have at that age, and I can only imagine how distorting and confusing it must be if you're both growing up and trying to become a fancy fashion model at the same time.
Also, it's definitely not cool to call someone a "stupid bitch" and taunt them for feeling ashamed just to make a point.
Images via WENN, TFS Forums