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Model shares nearly 50 stories of sexual harassment detailing a 'culture of exploitation'

Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy
Contributing Writer
Photo: Getty Images

In the wake of the ever-growing list of allegations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein, model Cameron Russell is taking to Instagram to elevate the voices of those women who have experienced sexual assault and harassment in her own industry.

Using the hashtag #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse, Russell is posting screenshots, by permission, of private messages sent to her by female models, detailing their own experiences of having faced gender-based violence in their professional lives — and often with threat to their careers.

In the first of such messages posted by Russell, she explained in the caption, “A brave model (and friend) reached out to me with her story today.” The subject sharing her story with Russell asked to remain anonymous because the photographer who allegedly harassed her still works in the industry — but still wanted to break her silence. “We are not talking about one, five, or even twenty men. We are talking about a culture of exploitation and it must stop,” Russell wrote. She then asked her followers to share their tales as well “so the industry can see the size and scope of this problem.”

And share they did. With 24 hours, Russell shared nearly 50 posts, all from individuals detailing stories of sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior, or other uncomfortable and usually unwanted situations.

Talk of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct has long tinged the modeling industry, including the series of allegations against famed photographer Terry Richardson that were reported in 2014 and other models speaking out against working with “sexual predators” in response.

In 2015, Cara Delevingne came out about about her own experience having faced sexual harassment in the industry. (Delevingne is also one of the many actresses to have since come forward with allegations about Weinstein.)

The model advocacy group Model Alliance was founded to protect models from predatory behaviors and systemic sexual abuse in the industry. And a March 2017 survey by Models.com found “inappropriate touching” to be a regular part of many models experience in doing their jobs.

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