Cameron Russell Just Blew the Lid off the Fashion Industry’s Sexual Abuse Problem


Photo credit by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images

While it’s been an illuminating and tumultuous week for Hollywood, the hard conversations on sexual abuse have sparked many in the fashion industry to speak up as well. Yesterday model and activist Cameron Russell chose to use her Instagram as an anonymous forum for models and former assistants alike to tell their stories of being violated. “A brave model (and friend) reached out to me with her story today,” Russell explained. “She has asked to remain anonymous but asked that I share her words here because the photographer still works in the industry. She wants to encourage other women to speak up. We need a way to begin breaking the silence while remaining protected.” The anonymous postings display a chilling correlation to the culture of misconduct many actresses described and the enabling of the sweeping under the rug behavior. “We are not talking about one, five, or even twenty men. We are talking about a culture of exploitation and it must stop.”

See just a few of the model testimonies below.

Trigger warning ⚠️ #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse

A post shared by Cameron Russell (@cameronrussell) on

Trigger warning ⚠️ #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse

A post shared by Cameron Russell (@cameronrussell) on

TRIGGER WARNING ⚠️ A brave model (and friend) reached out to me with her story today. She has asked to remain anonymous but asked that I share her words here because the photographer still works in the industry. She wants to encourage other women to speak up. We need a way to begin breaking the silence while remaining protected. We are not talking about one, five, or even twenty men. We are talking about a culture of exploitation and it must stop. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE YOUR STORY ANONYMOUSLY, DIRECT MESSAGE ME and I will post your words. If you would like to share publicly use the hashtag #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse so the industry can see the size and scope of this problem. Hearing about #harveyweinstein this week has sparked conversations about how widespread and how familiar his behavior is. We talked about how hard it is to share stories of assault. When they are the norm, calling them out can feel disruptive and unprofessional. On many occasions I've been called a feminist for reporting unwanted groping, spanking, pinching, pressure for dates, phone calls and texts of a sexual nature, lack of appropriate changing areas, etc. And because the response has always been "are you surprised?" or "that's part of the job" I tolerated them. When the offenses were bigger, calling them out is terrifying, and demands a level of exposure and backlash to what is already painful and sometimes shameful. #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse

A post shared by Cameron Russell (@cameronrussell) on

6 Comments
  1. I was 16 on one of my first Go-sees in NY. I had just started Modeling and my agency sent me to see Gary Gross. They told me if he “liked” me he would test me on the spot. Little did I know that he was a known Creep!!! The same guy that took Pedo photos of Brooke Sheilds. He immediately told me to take my shirt off. When I refused, he showed me all the photos he had taken of women naked and in compromising positions… I recall one with a giant fire hose…He then, took me outside on the rooftop and kept telling me that I had to take my shirt off, that all the models do it. After about what seemed like an eternity, of him harassing me. I hid behind a chimney and took my shirt off. I crouched down into a ball though and wouldn’t lift my arms from my chest. When I started crying, he finally said with disgust, “Put your shirt back on”. I left, feeling humiliated, dirty and disgusted. Thank GOD he didn’t touch me!!! I was somehow divinely protected. BUT- Why didn’t I leave right away????
    I felt completely helpless. I had no coping mechanisms to deal with this scenario.
    I heard he died a few years back. I can only hope he suffered tremendously. Why didn’t I make a HUGE stink out of it? My agency laughed it off when I recounted what had happened. Just like the Camp Counselor who tried to molest me when I was 10 or the stranger on the subway who lifted up my dress when I was 9. No-one took me seriously. No-one did anything. That is why these men keep doing these things. May we ALL rise. It stops here!!! Tell your stories. OUT THE CREEPS!!!

  2. I can relate to all of the stories, being molested as a model onset and castings in nyc when I was only 18 years old which my agency sent me to. At least 10 different experiences. It’s still haunts me I regret not standing up for myself but now as a grown woman I don’t want young girls to go through this we need to make a huge awareness. This Weinstein thing is a blessing opening doors for us and other models actors ect. 🙏

  3. Free “My agency laughed it off when I recounted what had happened” – which agency it was? It would be good to know to avoid

  4. When do magazine ship like GQ stop working with Terry Richardson?!? He’s the Harvey Weinstein of the fashion world. Everyone know it.

  5. There is a platform for both the public and industry insiders to share their stories confidentially. Industry Uncovered is here to educate and inform without the restraints of the “industry” itself. Go to http://www.industryuncovered.com to learn more.

    I am sorry for any misfortunes that any of you may have experienced. This is not something new AND surely NOT a secret for those within the entertainment industry, regardless of the genre. We do have the power to make a change and reclaim our power. We are here for you when you’re ready!

    Best
    Heather @industryuncovered

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