Photographer Bruce Weber. (Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)
Venerable fashion photographer Bruce Weber has settled a lawsuit launched by a group of male models who accused him of sexual assault.
Weber, the 75-year-old known for his racy shoots with Calvin Klein and Abercrombie & Fitch, allegedly groped Josh Ardolf, Anthony Baldwin, Jacob Madden and Jnana Van Oijen.
He would assist the men by doing “breathing exercises” on them during photoshoots and at his private home studio, where he touched their genitals or have them touch one another’s or his own.
The models called this being “Brucified”, according to court documents.
Weber denied the allegations of inappropriate touching, coercive sexual behaviour, and sexual assault, vowing to “vigorously” defend himself in court.
Now, Page Six said it understands that Weber and the models reached an out-of-court settlement. No admission of guilt was reached on Weber’s part, but it brings an end to the lawsuit brought on by Ardolf, Baldwin, Madden and Van Oijen.
After settlement reached in Bruce Weber suit, both sides vow to ‘move forward with their lives’
“I have spent my career capturing the human spirit through photographs and am confident that, in due time, the truth will prevail,” Bruce Weber said in a statement from his lawyer to the outlet.
“I did witness Bruce take one of the younger models away from the scene into a private shooting, private setting,” Van Ojien said in court filings.
“I don’t remember who it was, but somebody turned around and quoted to me oh, he’s going to get ‘Brucified’.”
It comes after Weber settled another suit levelled by model Jason Boyce in 2017 to the New York State Supreme Court for an undisclosed sum last month.
Weber’s alleged actions were well known in male modelling circles, Boyce said, but many simply shrugged it off.
“Anytime you’d bring up Bruce it was always like, ‘Oh yeah he’s a little weird, he’s a little creepy, he does these weird breathing exercises’,” Boyce told the New York Times.
“That’s as far as anyone would talk about it. No one would ever fully-fledged say he assaulted me.
“It was always like a shrug it off, ‘Oh well, let’s not make this a big deal’, as men do: ‘Let’s not make this a big deal’.”
Baldwin, meanwhile, claimed that Weber groped him through his underwear while on an Abercrombie & Fitch in 2009 on Amelia Island, Florida. He also got angry when he refused to pose naked, it is understood.
In June 2020, Boyce’s attorney Lisa Bloom, a high-powered harassment claims lawyer, was ordered to pay Weber $28,000 in legal costs after Boyce refused to answer questions at a deposition – it was later forced shut.
Arick Fudali, a partner at The Bloom Firm, told the outlet on Wednesday (1 September): “The parties have chosen to put this matter behind them and move forward with their lives.”