On Tuesday, just days after anonymously posting her story to a message board on Reddit, model Charlotte Waters publicly came forward to digital magazine Vocativ with a harrowing story about her previous experience working with photographer Terry Richardson. In a very explicit account, she outlines how Richardson sexually assaulted her during a shoot five years ago, causing her both physical and emotional distress. While Richardson couldn't be reached for comment when Waters's story was originally posted, he's not taking the allegations lying down, and has penned a letter to defend himself.
According to Page Six, Richardson asserts that Waters's claims are "vicious and distorted" rumors, and "nothing more than an emotionally-charged witch hunt." He continues:
“I collaborated with consenting adult women who were fully aware of the nature of the work, and as is typical with any project, everyone signed releases... I have never used an offer of work or a threat of rebuke to coerce someone into something that they did not want to do. I give everyone that I work with enough respect to view them as having ownership of their free will and making their decisions accordingly.”
But, the chips are stacked against Richardson, as this isn't the first (or second, or third) time that a model has come forward with disturbing tales about their time with Uncle Terry on set. (Remember the "period tea" incident?) Now, even brands are standing up against him: H&M, who has hired Richardson to shoot ad campaigns in the past, assured its fans on Twitter that it was not taking these accusations lightly.
@stephestellar If these accusations are true, it’s totally unacceptable to us. Currently we’re not working with Terry Richardson.
— H&M (@hm) March 13, 2014
Equinox publicly dropped Richardson too. But others, including magazines like GQ and Harper's Bazaar, continue to employ him. So, despite this particularly harsh accusation, it doesn't look like Richardson is going anywhere, for now at least.
UPDATE: Huffington Post published the full open letter from Richardson, entitled "Correcting the Rumors." You can read the whole thing here.