Ariana Grande and Kim Kardashian speak out against photographer after predatory nude photo scandal
Trigger warning: This post discusses allegations of sexual assault.
Update, July 24th, 1:30 p.m. EDT: Kim Kardashian West, who has worked with Marcus Hyde frequently in the past, has addressed the allegations against the photographer. This post has been updated to reflect her response.
On Monday, July 22nd, Instagram account Diet Prada shared screenshots of a conversation between celebrity photographer Marcus Hyde and Sunnaya, a model and interior design student from Los Angeles. In the messages, Hyde attempts to coerce Sunnaya into sending him nude photos in exchange for a free photoshoot. He says he’ll charge her $2,000 for the shoot if she doesn’t.
In the wake of the disturbing messages, both Kardashian West and Grande appeared to respond to the accusations, albeit without mentioning Hyde by name. Grande posted a message to Instagram Stories, writing that she read some “shocking and really heartbreaking stories.”
She wrote, "I hate that this is a conversation. But. Please do not shoot with photographers who make you uncomfortable or make you feel like you need to take your clothing off if you don’t want to. If you want to, sick. But if you don’t, please don’t. If they tell you you have to pay more money if you’re clothed that’s fucked and I’m sorry that has happened to you. I promise there are so many respectful, nice, talented photographers out there."
She added, “I hate hearing about things like this. I am sorry that that was anybody’s experience and know that it doesn’t have to be,” encouraging models and artists to “help each other get connected” with photographers “[whose] work you like and have had positive experiences with.”
Kardashian West referenced the allegations against Hyde (again, without mentioning him by name) in her Instagram Stories.
"I have been reading all of the messages and stories from women regarding inappropriate and inexcusable behavior of a photographer I have worked with in the past. My own experiences have always been professional, and I am deeply shocked, saddened and disappointed to learn that other women have had very different experiences," she said. "I stand in full support of every woman’s right to not be harassed, asked or pressured to do anything they are not comfortable with."
“We cannot allow this type of behavior to go unnoticed and I applaud those who speak out,” she added.
In the wake of the original post, other models have spoken out in comments or their own posts with allegations (and often receipts) that Hyde sexually harassed or assaulted them, too. Model Alex Undone posted about how she originally made allegations “some time ago” that the photographer had bribed her for nudes, but that she was scared she would lose jobs or be “black-listed” if she named names.
Grande is the first celebrity to comment on the accusations against Hyde, and we are glad to see that she spoke out. There are far too many examples of fashion photographers taking advantage of (usually young) models and abusing the power dynamic. We’re hoping that celebrities will rethink working with Hyde in the future and that the police will investigate the alleged crimes that have taken place.
Sexual harassment is a systemic problem in the modeling industry, and our thoughts are with Sunnaya and any model who has experienced harassment or assault at the hands of a photographer. Our hearts are saddened for anyone that has dealt with behavior like this and we hope it comes to an end—full stop.
Originally published July 23rd.