Let’s Talk: the girl who let Terry Richardson exploit her

It was only a matter of time before someone came up with another Terry Richardson sex story, though I admit, this one’s a little different to the other disturbing tales we’ve read over the past year.

In a confession on XOJane – Jane Pratt’s new website (which has come under fire for unleashing some, at best, controversial stories about women’s personal lives) – a 34-year-old ex-fashion insider tells the story of how she allowed Terry Richardson to have sex with her after seeing him pretending to have sex with a sheep, and found him to be the perfect gentleman.

And, unless you need reminding of my hate of stupid statements, you can bet it’s not going down too well in MFL HQ.

“Fashion photographer Terry Richardson has been accused of sexually exploiting young models. But when I allowed myself to be sexually exploited by Terry, I found him to be the perfect gentleman,” reads Caroline Marguerite’s opening sentence.

Ok, here’s my first problem: exploitation and being a gentleman are mutually exclusive. You can’t be a good guy and take advantage of someone in the same step. Nice people don’t misuse other nice peoples’ trust.

Marguerite goes on to explain the first time she laid eyes on Richardson. It was while she was reading a copy of The Face and she stumbled across a full page photograph of a man “making passionate love to a barnyard animal” (one presumes Terry was ‘acting’).

She notes he wore “nerdy child molester glasses”, and continues:

“The slightly blurred, paparazzi-style shot showed him grasping the beast’s hindquarters, yanking its woolly body toward his hungry crotch. Wild, frenzied ectsasy contorted not just his face but the sheep’s face too, bringing new meaning to the term “animal husbandry”.”

Anyone else feeling slightly uncomfortable at the admiring tone Marguerite adopts to describe, albeit re-enacted, bestiality like it’s the latest trend? Wait, she tries to explain:

It changed me. It twisted my impressionable mind. It made me feel dirty, it made me realize that rules were made to be broken, that you really could do whatever you want and call it “fashion.”

Ah, yes, because having sex with an animal is fine so long as it’s next to a Miu Miu ad. Putting young girls in uncompromising positions is fine when it’s art. Please! Also, note: you can’t do whatever you want and call it fashion – ask John Galliano.

The story moves on by some 17 years when Marguerite finds herself at Ben Stiller’s house party, wallowing in self-pit because she’s in bad relationship with her boyfriend. Terry’s there, she says hi, asks him about the sheep, and they have a brief chat as he gives her “warmest hug” she’d “had from a man in quite a while”. Lovely, nothing strange here.

Then Marguerite’s friend gets a text saying “Terry wants the number of the British girl”. She gives it to him, and the next day he texts Caroline inviting her to his hotel.

She goes, they chat, and not caring that she “was about to become yet another statistic in Terry Richardson’s lifelong shag-a-thon” they got down to business – “something told me there was nothing to fear,” she says.

“The curtains remained open as we did the things that sheep like to do. I coyly apologized for my bountiful rear (much shapelier than Kate Moss’s), but he seemed to like it very well.”

I’ll save you the sordid metaphors about cuts of meat she uses to describe them having sex.

I have so many problems with this that I don’t know where to begin, but the last part, in which she says her 15-year-old self “would have thought it was awesome” bugs me in particular. Please, in an article touching upon a tentative topic relating to girls’ allegations of sexual exploitation, do not relate an under-age teenager sexually to the man involved.

Enough of the animal-related sex already. Enough of glamorising situations that many models have reported to find incredibly compromising. Enough of linking a man “wearing child molester glasses” who’s been accused of taking advantage of young girls with a teenage fantasy.

According to her author page, Caroline Marguerite is a 34-year-old London-born, LA-based woman who’s written for some of fashion’s biggest titles – Dazed & Confused, the LA Times, Cosmopolitan. You’d think she’d have more sense – and taste – than to glorify what was nothing more than a one-night-stand with a man who made animalistic love to her the way she’d seen him do to a sheep in a magazine when that man has been accused of exploiting countless impressionable girls in the industry.

At this time I must point out that none of the allegations made against Terry Richardson have been proven to be true, but when they remain a very real rumour, it’s a foolish game to associate – and then aggrandise – your own fantastical story with such suggestions.

Marguerite doesn’t outrightly condone Richardson’s reputation, or the allegations that have been made, but the very nature of her article is insensitive and offensive to those who have spoken out about their supposed exploitation – and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

At a time where so many famous peoples’ wrong-doings are coming to light, let’s not begin to justify them.

[XOJane]

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