Where Is Fashion’s #MeToo Reckoning?

While fashion has had no shortage of #MeToo revelations and accusations, few have led to the kind of reckonings seen in other industries, and Refinery29 wants to know why.

“More than many other industries, fashion actively turns a blind eye to rumors, accusations and allegations of sexual exploitation,” writes author, Jake Hall, noting that the industry “loves nothing more than provocation, and this desire to shock has historically outweighed basic respect.”

Starting with last month’s British Parliament scandal — wherein Arcadia Goup CEO, Sir Phillip Green, was unmasked by Lord Hain as the “abuser at the heart of the ‘British #MeToo scandal’” — Hall catalogs the many perpetrators and abusers that have sunk “to the bottom of the news-cycle,” including Terry Richardson, Ian Connor, Bruce Weber, Mario Testino, and Patrick Demarchelier, among others.

According to Hall, the reason for the industry’s tepid response is twofold: firstly, the fashion industry routinely “[normalizes] extreme sexual imagery and behavior.” In the case of Richardson, for example, the very misconduct he was being accused of by models was what led industry gatekeepers to hail him as a “provocative pioneer.”

Secondly, #MeToo stories, at least in fashion, don’t sell magazines. Hall writes, “when trying to place a story about these accounts of abuse; I was told in no uncertain terms that these stories don’t attract an audience.” And that unwillingness to publish creates a vicious cycle that “leaves untold the stories of fashion’s most vulnerable assault victims.”

“The question we must ask isn’t why fashion hasn’t yet had its own major #MeToo moment,” the story stated. “It has. The real question is why the powerful people who could affect change are so hellbent on maintaining the status quo.”

You can read more about it at Refinery29.

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