A Call To Action
On May 16, 2018, over 100 models co-signed a letter to members for the fashion industry that called for leading fashion brands, publishing companies, and modeling agencies to join the RESPECT Program, an industrywide blueprint for protecting models and their colleagues from sexual harassment and abuse.
Among the more than 100 models who have signed the letter are Karen Elson, Teddy Quinlivan, Edie Campbell, Doutzen Kroes, Nathalia Novaes, Milla Jovovich, Bryce Thompson, Jason Fedele, Geena Rocero, and Elettra Wiedemann. The letter states in part: “We are calling on leading agencies, publishing companies and fashion brands to join RESPECT, a program that is driven by models themselves, and rooted in a commitment to real change."
The RESPECT Program
The RESPECT Program, designed by models and rooted in the dignity of all individuals working in the fashion industry, provides a blueprint for how to protect models and their colleagues from harassment and abuse. RESPECT will build a partnership between models and industry players, including agencies, publishing companies and brands, which now have the opportunity through this Program to create a safe work environment, free from abuse.
“RESPECT goes beyond voluntary standards and mere promises to do better,” explained Sara Ziff, founder of the Model Alliance. “Under the RESPECT agreement, models will have recourse to a confidential complaint process that protects them against retaliation and ensures independent investigation and lasting consequences for harassers.”
Said Ziff, “The program establishes an orderly and fair process for addressing charges of abuse. It provides comprehensive training and education to models and all industry participants. This system benefits models, photographers and other service providers, and every company that wants to do the right thing. The only people who don’t benefit are the harassers themselves."
How We're Going To Do It
The RESPECT Program’s solutions-oriented approach includes the following elements:
1. Strong workplace standards that ban abuse and harassment, protect underage models, ensure models are never required to appear nude at a shoot without prior agreement, among other protections.
2. A confidential and secure complaints process, offering protection for those fearing career-jeopardizing retaliation or defamation.
3. A neutral, independent body to fairly investigate those complaints and to enforce remedies where warranted, including directing companies to stop hiring a photographer or other service provider who is a documented harasser.
4. Comprehensive training on rights and responsibilities for models, photographers, stylists, casting directors, agents and all other industry participants.
5. Provisions requiring companies to pay models for their work in a timely and transparent fashion, curtailing the economic precariousness that increases vulnerability to abuse.
6. The obligation of signatory companies to give a business preference to other signatories, to create incentive for all industry players to participate.
7. Memorialization of companies’ commitments – to respect the results of investigations, facilitate training, ensure timely payment – in a legally binding contract.
How You Can Help
The Model Alliance will be presenting the proposed agreement in the coming weeks to major corporations across the industry. As we seek commitments from companies and further develop the Program, we aim to raise seed funding in the amount of $35,000. With your support, we will be able to sustain this effort over the coming months and bring the Program to fruition.
If you prefer to write a check, please make the check out to "Center for Transformative Action" with "Model Alliance" in the memo. The mailing address is 119 Anabel Taylor Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853.
Please help us create an industry free of abuse by making a donation today!