Who’s to Blame: The Photgrapher, The Model, or The Retailer?

The news seems to be congested with lawsuits and young girls being sexualized. In the case of young model, Hailey Clauson, the bell rings true again. The case is against retailer Urban Outfitters and photographer Jason Lee Parry. The evidence is a so called ‘salacious’ photograph of the young model that was unknowingly sold to the clothing company Blood Is The New Black, who sold their Tee shirts at well known retail chain, Urban Outfitters. The lawsuit in question is for a sum of $28 million.

In the fashion industry, we are all very aware that age is important, and being under twenty has always been the best age to be. However it seems a trend is starting; girls that are too young to be sexualized are being sexualized. Like I said, in fashion, being of a youthful age is definitely of importance, but when under a certain age there are precautions to be taken. It seems as if Photographer, Jason Lee Parry, did not take proper precautions and is now being sued by Hailey Clauson’s parents.

The story begins when Hailey was only a few days deep into her fifteenth year – second year in professional modeling – and went, with her parents, to a photo shoot by Jason Lee Parry for an editorial to be published in a German magazine. After the shoot, photos were approved by Clauson’s camp including her parents for the editorial and no other end source was discussed. Her parents became upset when they realized the photos, approved only for the editorial, have ended up on retail merchandise, making other people money with their underage daughter represented as a sex symbol, positioned in what they call a ‘salacious’ pose.

As the case begins, there are many opposing statements claiming the parents and model were happy with the photos, not claiming they were too sexual. Of course, they did not expect the image to be reproduced on merchandise, and it is very unclear who released the photos, as no one wants to take blame for situation at hand.

Blood Is The New Black released this statement, “The images were delivered to us by Jason Lee Parry with the sole purpose of producing tee shirts and marketing them to our network of stores worldwide. One image, depicting a woman on a motorcycle, was printed on men’s and women’s tee shirts and sold to a number of stores, including Urban Outfitters. Neither Urban Outfitters nor Blood is the New Black were aware that the photographer had failed to obtain a model release from the Teen Model or her parents, who were present at the shoot. Blood is the New Black values its relationship with Urban Outfitters and all our customers and feels as though they must not be held responsible for this gross oversight. […] We find it unfortunate that after six years of business we find ourselves, and our partners, part of a situation brought on by a lack of proper protocol from a member of the artistic community. We have addressed this issue internally to ensure such an egregious oversight never occurs again.”

In good form, a statement was also released from Jason Lee Perry’s people saying, “Ford modeling agency assigned the model for Jason Lee Parry’s shoot. Ford approved the fashion story featured in Qvest magazine to be published. The photo in question was featured in the model’s portfolio on Ford’s site. All correspondence is documented in emails approving the shoot…Unbeknownst to Jason Lee Parry the image in question was selected by the t-shirt brand. He was also unaware of retail distribution of the t-shirt.”

As it is clear that no one wants to takes the blame, the case will go to trial and, hopefully, accumulate more evidence which will stop the mass exposure of teen and pre-teen girls in fashion.

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