Royal photographer Mario Testino accused of sexual exploitation

Mario Testino, the world-renowned fashion photographer who was a favourite of the Royal family, has been accused of sexually exploiting multiple men.

Thirteen male models and assistants who worked with the photographer have claimed he acted inappropriately towards them, according to The New York Times.

His behaviour allegedly included groping, masturbation and attempts to seduce employees, according to accounts published by the paper.

Mr Testino, 63, took the official photo for Prince William’s engagement to Kate Middleton and was awarded an OBE in 2014.

He continues to shoot high profile celebrities and work for brands such as Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana. 

The New York Times also claimed that another photographer, Bruce Weber, faced claims of inappropriate behaviour by 15 male models.

Britain's Prince William and Middleton pose in their official engagement portraits, taken by photographer Mario Testino in London

Britain’s Prince William and Middleton pose in their official engagement portraits, taken by photographer Mario Testino in London

Credit:
Mario Testino / Reuters

The report on Mr Testino and Mr Weber includes on-the-record accounts from models and ex-assistants.

Ryan Locke, the model, appeared to call Mr Testino a “sexual predator” in the story and described an alleged account when he was being photographed by him.

At one point Mr Testino is alleged to have ordered other employees off set so he was alone with Mr Locke. “He shuts the door and locks it.

“Then he crawls on the bed, climbs on top of me and says, ‘I’m the girl, you’re the boy’,” Mr Locke said. Mr Testino was also accused of making “aggressive advances” towards young assistants.

Lavely & Singer, the law firm that represents Mr Testino, said that the individuals “cannot be considered reliable sources”. 

The firm also said several former employees it had spoken to were “shocked by the allegations” and “could not confirm any of the claims”, according to The New York Times. 

When approached about the report by this newspaper, a Lavely & Singerspokesman declined to comment.

A statement from Mr Weber quoted in the paper said: “I’m completely shocked and saddened by the outrageous claims being made against me, which I absolutely deny.”

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