The fashion industry's favorite photographer is in the news again, but not for his typical, sexually-derived shenanigans. While Terry Richardson is familiar with negative press, it's safe to say that this current trouble isn't his fault (at least not directly).
An ongoing lawsuit against Lady Gaga filed by her former secretary Jennifer O'Neill in 2011 centered around allegations that Gaga owes O'Neill upwards of $393,000 in overtime pay from work between 2009 and 2011.
While this case has nothing to do with Richardson directly, he was with Gaga during the time period in question, documenting her "Monster Ball" tour. His work would ultimately be funneled into the project Lady Gaga x Terry Richardson, a book which spent time within the top 10 of the New York Times Bestseller List.
So where does Richardson stand to lose money in this equation? Considering that his work is technically a visual documentation of Lady Gaga during the period when O'Neill was employed, O'Neill plans to use the photos as evidence in the case to illustrate how Gaga had her at her "beck and call" and deserves the unpaid overtime.
The problem for "Uncle Terry" comes in the actual collection of the photos. If the photos are deemed worthy to be used as evidence, the approximately 142,000 images he took while on tour would be collected and then added to a public record attached to the case. This means that his work would be free to be seen and/or reproduced by anyone at any time.
Yes, this would include all the photos he snapped from that tour. We can only imagine what bizarre photos would come from that, considering the photographer's long, candid and well-documented working relationship with Gaga. If Richardson's work is indeed submitted as evidence, don't be surprised if you find his images on the T-shirts of the next wannabe streetwear designers. A collection based around "free" Terry Richardson images of Lady Gaga? We can't decide whether that's scary or next level.
The photos have not been valued, but The New York Post remarked that Richardson rakes in $58 million yearly from his photos.