Oct 25, 2017
Employers in fashion get tough post-Weinstein
Oct 25, 2017
The repercussions of Harvey Weinstein's downfall spread further beyond Hollywood to the worlds of fashion and finance on Tuesday as employers showed the door to powerful men accused of sexual harassment.
Accusations that the mogul engaged in years of predatory behavior shredded his career and marriage, and lifted the lid on endemic sexual harassment -- particularly by older men preying on younger women -- in Hollywood.
Nearly three weeks after the accusations surfaced, a leading fashion photographer has now been blacklisted by some of the biggest magazines in the world and it has emerged that two male senior executives at a blue-chip finance company were recently dismissed for allegedly harassing associates.
Conde Nast confirmed Tuesday that it was axing Terry Richardson, a 65-year-old New York photographer known for sexually explicit images, acting now -- despite years of claims that he exploited models -- in the wake of Weinstein.
In the male-dominated world of US finance, an industry source confirmed that Fidelity Investments sacked portfolio manager Robert Chow, 56, after 30 years at the firm, and Gavin Baker, 41, who ran a $16 billion tech fund.
CEO Abigail Johnson, widely considered the most powerful woman in US finance, was said to be instrumental in demanding their dismissal in recent weeks.
"We simply will not, and do not, tolerate this type of behavior," Fidelity spokesman Vincent Loporchio told AFP by email.
A spokesman for Baker did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Johnson, valued at $17.5 billion by Forbes, sits atop a fund that manages $6.4 trillion in assets and is a rarity in the US finance sector where nonprofit organization Catalyst says women account for only two percent of CEOs.
- 'Unacceptable' -
The refusal by Conde Nast to publish Richardson's work is the latest indication of shrinking tolerance for powerful men accused of sexual impropriety, with actresses, models and ordinary women increasingly emboldened to speak out.
Staff at London-based Conde Nast International, whose titles include Vogue, Vanity Fair and Glamour, were informed by email that work already commissioned from Richardson should be "killed or substituted."
Conde Nast US said it had "nothing planned" with Richardson.
"Sexual harassment of any kind is unacceptable and should not be tolerated," it told AFP in an email.
Richardson -- like Weinstein -- has insisted that all relationships were consensual. On Tuesday, a representative said he was "disappointed."
The married father of two has shot campaigns for luxury fashion houses, photographed Barack Obama prior to his election as president and directed Miley Cyrus's video for her 2013 "Wrecking Ball" single in which she appeared naked.
Cyrus has since said she regrets the video.
Britain's Sunday Times newspaper had questioned why Richardson was "still feted by fashionistas" despite a "reputation as the Harvey Weinstein of fashion."
US model Cameron Russell last week launched an Instagram campaign called #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse that swiftly garnered more than 70 anonymous accounts of abuse, lewd behavior and harassment.
- Sexual advances -
On Tuesday, a former production assistant became the latest of more than 50 women to accuse Weinstein, alleging that he forced himself on her at his New York home in 2006, an incident that was not reported to police and may not be prosecutable.
Mimi Haleyi said Weinstein bombarded her with calls and messages, and turned up at her apartment insisting that she fly with him by private jet to Paris to watch the couture season. Each time, she said she refused.
Upon his return, she said he subjected her to sexual advances, refusing to take no for an answer and forced himself on her orally while she was on her period, apparently in a child's bedroom.
"I would not have wanted anyone to do that to me even if that person had been my romantic partner. I remember Harvey afterwards rolling over onto his back and saying 'don't you feel we're so much closer to each other now?"
"I replied 'no'," Haleyi told reporters.
Haleyi said she had not reported the incident to the police. Her lawyer, Gloria Allred, who represents other Weinstein accusers, said that the incident happened in 2006 and may be difficult to prosecute under statute of limitations laws.
On Monday, US celebrity chef John Besh, the face of New Orleans cuisine who fed world leaders and appeared on TV programs, stepped down from his company after women complained that sexual harassment was rife at his restaurants.
Besh acknowledged an affair, but denied an abusive culture at his company where women alleged co-workers and supervisors engaged in unwanted touching, made inappropriate comments, and at times tried to coerce women for sex.
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