People in the fashion industry are sharing their sexual harassment stories on Russell’s Instagram
Five years ago, model and activist Cameron Russell filmed a TED Talk called “Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model.” The talk took a humorous, honest look at an industry that, as the video describes, had her looking seductive at barely 16. Now, in the weeks since the explosive allegations of abuse by Harvey Weinstein, Russell is using her Instagram to share anonymous stories from models about their experiences with sexual abuse.
The stories are harrowing, deeply wrenching, hard to read — and sadly not that surprising. Paper reports that, last Thursday, Russell started the hashtag #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse on Instagram and announced that she would post any direct messages she received under it. With over 90,000 followers, it’s unsurprising she’s been inundated with messages. Russell has censored the names of both the abusers and the models and asked via Instagram Stories that the press respect their privacy.
“My first priority is to respond to people sharing their stories today,” she said. “So please excuse my silence. My second priority is to work with a serious investigative team and with the support of model organizers and lawyers take the pain of people who have suffered seriously, and protect them before anything else, while working to ensure this culture of violence is shaken to its core.”
The stories come not just from women, but also male models who share their experiences. They are stories of sexual harassment, molestation, and attempted rape. Over 75 models have shared their stories so far.
In an Instagram story, Russell wrote: “There will be follow up meetings where we can explore ways to make at least some of the names public. There are many Weinsteins in our industry, they aren’t hard to spot. If you know one, act now. Don’t wait for 30 years for a New York Times exposé.”