Demarchelier has been named in The Boston Globe’s investigation into sexual harassment and assault in the fashion industry.
According to the publication’s Spotlight team, more than 50 models have spoken out about the sexual misconduct they have experienced while working on the job.
The models hope to call out and stop serial predators who have been abusing young girls in the industry for decades. They also want to see “radical reform” in the industry to safeguard other young girls who are just starting out in their modelling careers.
The Globe reports the models have collectively made credible allegations against “at least 25 photographers, agents, stylists, casting directors, and other industry professionals”.
The accused include Demarchelier, David Bellemere, Greg Kadel, Andre Passos, Seth Sabel, and Karl Templer.
When the #MeToo movement first began model Cameron Russell put a call out on Instagram. She asked women working in the fashion industry to come forward with their own stories of sexual harassment and assault. Within just two days, she had collected hundreds of accounts of sexual misconduct.
The movement encouraged one of Demarchelier’s former photo assistants to reach out to Vogue editor, Anna Wintour.
The unnamed assistant told Wintour about the “relentless advances by Demarchelier beginning when she was a 19-year-old intern”. The woman said she eventually gave into Demarchelier’s demands, fearing that if she didn’t she would “endanger her position”. She urged Wintour not to allow Demarchelier access to other young women.
“It hurts my heart so much to think of how many girls, many my own daughter’s age who have had to fend off or give in to his advances because I didn’t speak up at the time,” the woman wrote in an e-mail that was reviewed by the Spotlight team.
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“I remember many test shoots with teenage girls where Patrick’s team of assistants (including me) was dismissed for the day only to find naked photos of the girl in the darkroom the next day.”
The Globe interviewed a further six women who have accused Princess Diana’s former photographer of unwanted sexual advances.
They allege he once thrust a model’s hands onto her genitals, grabbed another model’s breasts, and propositioned models for sex.
Demarchelier also allegedly asked one teenage model, “Can I lick your pussy?”, claiming he could make her famous if she said yes.
The model, shocked, immediately left the Paris hotel room where the shoot was taking place.
“I wasn’t sure even if I understood his English correctly,” she told The Globe, but then he repeated the question verbatim.
“I said, ‘You should be ashamed, and I will never see you again.’ ”
Two years later, at another shoot in New York, he repeated the same question.
“Everyone is trying to take advantage of you,” the model said. “At one point I was like, do I really have to do this to succeed? Do anything?”
When asked about the allegations, Demarchelier told The Globe it was “impossible” the multiple accounts were true.
“People lie and they tell stories,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”
Conde Nast, the company that owns Vogue, has since ceased working with Demarchelier.
“We have informed Patrick we will not be working with him for the foreseeable future,” the company said in a statement.
You can read The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team’s full report here.