I.D.’S REQUIRED: Fashion photographer Bruce Weber is about to learn the identities of the five models who accused him of inappropriate touching and other misconduct in a federal complaint filed last month.
Legals teams for both parties were back in the Southern District of New York’s U.S. District Court Tuesday.
After hearing an oral argument, U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels ordered that the plaintiffs disclose their identities to the defendant before 5 p.m. Thursday. Subsequently, Weber’s response to their complaint is due no later than March 1. In turn, the plaintiffs shall amend their complaint to include their full legal names no later than March 31.
Alleging they were victims of sex trafficking and molestation, the plaintiffs were identified by pseudonyms so as not to subject them to “further embarrassment, shame and emotional harm” in last month’s filing. The 14-page complaint described Weber as “a serial sexual predator who used his power in the male modeling industry to fraudulently and forcefully entice aspiring male models into engaging in abusive commercial acts.”
A representative for Weber declined comment Thursday.
Weber’s attorney Jayne Weintraub did not respond to requests for comment. The plaintiffs’ attorney Lisa Bloom of The Bloom Firm declined comment Tuesday.
One of the five models is still working as a model, Bloom said in a previous interview with WWD.
The Bloom Firm is also representing Jason Boyce, who filed a lawsuit against Weber about a year ago alleging sexual harassment and discrimination. In early January, Weber’s legal team struck back. The photographer’s attorneys alleged that the model’s claim of inappropriate touching during a 15-minute go-see with Weber were “false and salacious” and that his legal team is now “doubling down on his false-claims charade, by seeking leave to amend and assert a claim against Mr. Weber under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015.”
With more than 40 years of experience in the fashion industry, Weber is said to be committed to fighting for his professional legacy.
Both Weintraub and Bloom appeared to have had a change of heart regarding discussing the case with the media. In advance of Tuesday’s court hearing, each had agreed to speak afterward. But those plans dissolved. An assistant for Bloom canceled the phone interview beforehand, and Bloom later declined comment via e-mail. Weintraub did not respond to e-mails.
Asked to identify the five models, Bloom declined comment via e-mail Thursday.