Terry Richardson Sued by Two Models Over Claims He Sexually Assaulted Them on Camera, Used Photos in Book

Both of the women have accused the disgraced fashion photographer of selling photographs of their alleged assaults as "art."

Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images

Former fashion and portrait photographer Terry Richardson has been sued by two women who claim he raped them on camera and sold pictures of their alleged assaults as "art" in photo books.

As reported by The New York Times, Spanish model Minerva Portillo filed a lawsuit against the disgraced photographer, Trump Model Management, and the agency's president Annie Veltri, among others, over allegations of sexual misconduct. In the suit, filed on Tuesday, she claimed Richardson "sexually assaulted her in front of his employees" and exhibited, published, and sold photos of her alleged assault without her consent.

The suit was filed on Tuesday, Nov. 21, under New York's Adult Survivors Act, which gave victims of sexual assault the ability to sue alleged perpetrators regardless of when the assault happened. The act was open for one year and closed this week.

In the suit, she alleged that Trump Model Management advised her to "overlook his behavior," given "Mr. Richardon's prominence and influence in the industry." The agency was founded by Donald Trump in 1999 as T Models but closed in 2017. Portillo said that when she arrived at a shoot with the photographer in May 2004, she was given a beverage that she said was potentially spiked with "an intoxicating or narcotic substance." She felt "dizzy, disoriented, and not fully in control of her body" after drinking it.

When she was being photographed topless, she said the photographer started to pose alongside her and groped her without her consent. He allegedly exposed his penis and later "forcibly inserted his penis into her mouth, and ordered her to perform oral sex on him." She told him "no" repeatedly while his employees photographed the assault. The following day, she returned to do a shoot with him because she was "fearful that she would lose her job with Trump Model Management." Richardson allegedly demanded she perform oral sex on him again.

Later that year, some of the photos were exhibited. They also showed up in a 2006 book he published entitled Kibosh. She filed a cease-and-desist letter the previous year. "There is a difference between provocative—but consensually made—art, and sexual assault," said Portillo's attorney, Christine Dunn, per USA Today. "Ms. Portillo alleges that this was the latter, and Mr. Richardson did not have the rights to distribute the images."

The New York Post reports that a second model has since filed a lawsuit against Richardson, with similar allegations detailed in the filing. Caron Berstein said that the photographer forced her to perform oral sex on him during a 2003 shoot. The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday, Nov. 22.

"Instead of engaging in a professional photoshoot with Bernstein, Richardson instead sexually assaulted Bernstein, without her express or implied consent, by holding Bernstein’s head and forcing Richardson’s erect penis into and out of Bernstein’s mouth repeatedly and then ejaculating Richardson’s semen on Bernstein’s neck, chest, and breasts," reads the lawsuit. Photos of the alleged incident were later published in the same book, Kibosh.

Richardson has faced allegations of sexual misconduct since at least 2001. He was blacklisted from the fashion industry in 2017 following a series of allegations made by other alleged victims. He has not worked professionally since.

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