We like Charlotte Free. We like her hair, her face, her style, the brands she represents, and her fun, unapologetic personality. But we don’t like what she said on Tumblr in a since-deleted comment regarding the various sexual harassment allegations against Terry Richardson (as reported on The Fashion Spot):
“Terry likes to do sexy stuff, that’s his shit. If you don’t wanna be part of it, make it clear in the beginning. Don’t willingly blow the man and get all mad and ashamed later…I hate when girls say ’but he asked me to.’ You should have said no then, stupid bitch! There’s plenty of other girls waiting in line, so he’s not forcing you to do shit. When you make a choice you have to live with it — unless someone got you fucked up against your will.”
After deleting the post, Free wrote, “I don’t even believe the accusations against terry…. And if they are true, I still stand by what I said. I shouldn’t have used such offensive language...I’m sick of people making stuff up about him, and even if it was true, I still have Terry’s back no matter what.” It’s a very strong defense of someone who, in all fairness, has been accused repeatedly, but never convicted or even successfully sued.
But, here’s the thing. What we find troubling about Free’s comments isn’t her ride-or-die support of Richardson. Rather, we’re confused and disappointed about her victim shaming and her note that, “There’s plenty of other girls waiting in line, so he’s not forcing you.” Taken generally, it’s a comment on the entire modeling profession, one that seems to suggest that if you don’t accept an uncomfortably sexualized working condition someone eventually will and, perhaps should, replace you. It’s the way these things work, both with Richardson and others, the logic goes. Deal with it or find another job.