Model sues photographer for allegedly raping her on camera, selling it as ‘art’
Fashion photographer, Terry Richardson faces a lawsuit by a model who claims he drugged and sexually assaulted her, then put photos of the attacks in his art book and exhibitions.
Minerva Portillo alleged in court papers that Richardson gave her a “narcotic” drink in 2004 and took pictures while he forced her to “perform oral sex” on him.
During a second photoshoot the following day, Richardson allegedly did the same thing to the Spanish model again.
Portillo claims that the photos from the assaults appeared in his exhibition “Terryworld” and art book “Kibosh,” which helped make Richardson a star until he was cancelled by the fashion industry in 2017 after multiple models accused him of sexual assault and rape.
Portillo”s lawsuit was filed in New York City a day before the deadline to file claims under the state’s Adult Survivors Act.
Other men accused in the last 24 hours under the New York law which gives a window for old claims outside the statute of limitations include Axl Rose and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Portillo, who has appeared in magazines like Vogue and Elle and fronted campaigns for Marc Jacobs and Gucci, claims that the attacks happened when she was 22.
She had just arrived in the US from Spain and was booked for a shoot with Richardson, now 58, the suit claims.
When she arrived at Richardson’s studio, Portillo, now 42, claims she was offered a drink and some cocaine.
She declined the drugs but drank the drink, which contained “an intoxicating or narcotic substance she had not consented to taking,” court papers said.
Portillo began to feel “dizzy, disorientated, and not fully in control of her body.”
The suit claims that nine employees arrived on set and Richardson began to take her top off and grope her breasts.
He then allegedly pushed his penis against her buttocks and pulled her onto her knees.
The lawsuit states, “He pressed his penis in her face and on her mouth. He forcibly inserted his penis into her mouth, and ordered her to perform oral sex on him.”
When Portillo objected, Richardson allegedly held her head in place as his staff were “cheering.”
Afterwards, Portillo was told to sign a document which said that the photos “do not depict actual sexually explicit conduct” even though they did.
The following day, Portillo claims, she was forced by her modelling agency to do another shoot and Richardson forced her to give him oral sex in a van.
In addition to appearing in the book and exhibitions, the images of Portillo being sexually assaulted were put on show at the Jeffrey Deitch gallery, the suit says.
Portillo also sued Trump Model Management, former President Donald Trump’s modelling business, which was shut down in 2017, and his company DJT Holdings.
Trump Model Management booked Portillo for the Richardson shoot, the suit says.
The high-profile photographer was a regular in Hollywood circles including the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscars party until allegations of sexual misconduct in 2017 prompted major publishers and advertisers to drop him.
During a pre-shoot meeting with Richardson, he only wore a bathrobe, but when she raised this with Trump Model Management, she was brushed off, the court papers allege.
The agency allegedly told her that Richardson’s “behaviour was commonplace and that given Mr. Richardson’s prominence and influence in the industry, Ms. Portillo should overlook his behaviour.”
Portillo is seeking unspecified damages for battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress against Richardson and for negligence against the Trump companies.
She is being represented by Sanford Heisler Sharp, the law firm which previously represented Chase Robinson, Robert De Niro’s personal assistant.
Robinson won $1.2 million from the actor earlier this month after an explosive gender discrimination trial in which she alleged he turned her into his “office wife.”