“If underage models continue to appear in these kinds of photoshoots, it is solely because adults have enabled them”
Parents of teen model Hailey Clauson are taken legal action against U.S. fashion label Urban Outfitters, along with photographer Jason Lee Parry, over a t-shirt featuring Hailey sitting “spread eagle” on a motorbike. Hailey was 15 when the shots were taken and according to her parents, permission was not given for use of the images. The Clauson’s are asking for $28 million.
There is no doubt that, as the parents claim, Jason Lee Parry’s photo makes “her crotch area the focal point of the image.” In court documents they say Parry agreed not to release the images after Hailey’s agent complained and that this agreement has been broken.
The agent accused Parry of working with L.A. boutique ‘Blood Is The New Black’ to sell t-shirts featuring the young model’s image. That ‘Blood Is The New Black’ would leap at the opportunity to flog t-shirts with sexualised imagery is no surprise, given its history. Tees featuring images of women naked, bound and gagged here were also brought to you with comps from the same brand, stocked by Roger David.
But Parry claims Hailey’s father was present at the shoot and Okay’d the pics.
A few things don’t add up, as examined by Patty Huntington at Frockwriter.
Patty Huntington has located other sexualised images of the girl, including another spread-eagled photo taken when she was even younger – 14 – and published in 2009. She asks: “If Clauson’s parents don’t like their daughter posing in sexually suggestive’ positions, then why have they allowed her to do so, over and over again, for two years?”
And why send her to do shoots with a photographer known for his provocative styling? Hailey is underage, she is not able to exercise informed consent. Someone is exercising it on her behalf. Surely the safest course of action would be not to allow such images to be shot in the first place? Once taken, it is too easy to lose control over where they end up, as we see over and over.
Huntington perfectly sums it up:
If underage models continue to appear in these kinds of photoshoots, it is solely because adults have enabled them. The buck stops with them. Not just photographers, stylists and editors but model agents and yes, parents.
Here are some brief comments I made on the issue on Channel 7 Sunrise yesterday.