After slowly teasing out articles and dropping a popular promo video last week, Vice just officially launched their much-anticipated women’s news channel Broadly. The most interesting thing about the site’s early content, though, is the bylines.
It appears Vice hired a number of women who publicly accused the site’s former comrade Terry Richardson of sexual misconduct to write their first attempt at female-focused content. The three stories shown above, which appeared right next to each other on the Broadly homepage before its official launch, featured the bylines of Rie Rasmussen, Jamie Peck (who occasionally writes for the Observer) and Anna del Gaizo, all women who publicly claimed Mr. Richardson used his reputation and power to sexually harass or otherwise act inappropriately toward them.
A coincidence? Maybe—but Vice and Mr. Richardson had a close relationship that came to a halt, and now his accusers are using his former platforms to empower women.
“It’s not a coincidence. Hiring these women and giving them a platform is our comment,” Tracie Egan Morrissey, Broadly’s editor-in-chief and director of content told the Observer.
Mr. Richardson is known for doing a ton of photography work for Vice. He shot celebrities like Spike Jonze and Snoop Dogg and even did an R-rated piece with Brooke Candy for which Vice requires readers to confirm they’re 18 or older to view. He’s basically been credited with solidifying the magazine’s aesthetic, which is notoriously aimed at a male audience, complete with a NSFW section. If the allegations toward Mr. Richardson are true, readers could definitely look back on his work for the site (which has been largely unpopular with women mostly because of the frequent sexualization of them in its content) and think to themselves that they’re not surprised.
He’s also been known to be a good friend of Vice co-founder and CEO Shane Smith. Another close personal friend of his is (or was) former Vice editor-in-chief Jesse Pearson, who left the media company in 2013. Coincidently, that’s the same year Mr. Richadson’s work stopped appearing on the site.
It’s not clear why ties were cut between Vice and Mr. Richardson, but allegations toward him stretch far and are pretty severe. Even claims coming just from the three aforementioned women raise huge red flags. Ms. del Gaizo wrote a piece for Jezebel where she describes his attempt to get oral sex from her in front of the camera during an impromptu photo shoot. Ms. Peck called Mr. Richardson “a predator with a camera” and alleged he made some rather pervy requests of her and initiated sexual acts during a shoot. Ms. Rasmussen told New York magazine how he manipulates young models to get them naked and posing for sexual photos they’ll be ashamed of later. She claims that after confronting him in person, he ran away—literally—and called her agency the next day complaining that she’d called him names.
As Vice Media tries to tap into the female market, it’s probably for the best that Mr. Richardson is no longer their go-to guy. The choice of authors for the new women’s channel certainly sends a big FU to Mr. Richardson.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Terry Richardson photographed Shane Smith for Interview Magazine. He did not.