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Top Casting Director James Scully Calls out Balenciaga and Lanvin for ‘Cruel’ and Racist Casting Calls

So true to my promise at #bofvoices that I would be a voice for any models, agents or all who see things wrong with this business I’m disappointed to come to Paris and hear that the usual suspects are up to the same tricks. I was very disturbed to hear from a number of girls this morning that yesterday at the Balenciaga casting Madia & Ramy (serial abusers) held a casting in which they made over 150 girls wait in a stairwell told them they would have to stay over 3 hours to be seen and not to leave. In their usual fashion they shut the door went to lunch and turned off the lights, to the stairs leaving every girl with only the lights of their phones to see. Not only was this sadistic and cruel it was dangerous and left more than a few of the girls I spoke with traumatized. Most of the girls have asked to have their options for Balenciaga cancelled as well as Hermes and Ellie Saab who they also cast for because they refuse to be treated like animals. Balenciaga part of Kering it is a public company and these houses need to know what the people they hire are doing on their behalf before a well deserved law suit comes their way. On top of that I have heard from several agents, some of whom are black that they have received mandate from Lanvin that they do not want to be presented with women of color. And another big house is trying to sneak 15 year olds into paris! It’s inconceivable to me that people have no regard for human decency or the lives and feelings of these girls, especially when too too many of these models are under the age of 18 and clearly not equipped to be here but god forbid well sacrifice anything or anyone for an exclusive right? If this behavior continues it’s gonna be a long cold week in paris. Please keep sharing your stories with me and I will continue to to share them for you. It seems to be the only way we can force change and give the power back to you models and agents where it rightfully belongs. And I encourage any and all to share this post #watchthisspace

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“I am a bit of a feminist and it makes me feel sick. […] It’s horrible and it’s disgusting. You start when you are really young and you get subjected to…not great stuff,” said Cara Delevingne of her decision to (for the most part) quit modeling back in 2015. Delevingne was neither the first nor the last to call out the modeling industry for its lack of ethics. Unfortunately, little has changed in the past two years. Models remain shockingly unprotected by law. However, they are not without advocates, Model Alliance founder Sara Ziff and top casting director James Scully among them.

Last night, Scully — known for his work with Stella McCartney, Brandon Maxwell and Tom Ford, to name a few — took to Instagram to publicize a recent example of inhumane model treatment. “I was very disturbed to hear from a number of girls this morning that yesterday at the Balenciaga casting Maida [Gregori Boina] and Rami [Fernandes] (serial abusers) held a casting in which they made over 150 girls wait in a stairwell told them they would have to stay over three hours to be seen and not to leave. In their usual fashion they shut the door went to lunch and turned off the lights, to the stairs leaving every girl with only the lights of their phones to see,” Scully wrote. “Not only was this sadistic and cruel it was dangerous and left more than a few of the girls I spoke with traumatized. Most of the girls have asked to have their options for Balenciaga cancelled as well as Hermes and Ellie Saab who they also cast for because they refuse to be treated like animals.” This is not the first time Balenciaga’s been accused of falling behind the times — creative director Demna Gvasalia is often castigated for his whitewashed runways.

Unfortunately, this was not the only disturbing news out of Paris. “On top of that I have heard from several agents, some of whom are black, that they have received mandate from Lanvin that they do not want to be presented with women of color,” Scully continued, adding, “And another big house is trying to sneak 15-year-olds into Paris!” (A serious accusation — per legislation, the minimum age for runway models is 16.)

Diversity Report: Landmark Gains at New York Fashion Week Fall 2017, but Is It Enough? ]

It’s heartening to see an industry juggernaut like Scully making good on his promise to “be a voice for any models, agents or all who see things wrong with this business” and defending those who, in the interest of their careers, cannot defend themselves. (Scully made said promise back in December of 2016, during his talk on bullying, cruelty and discrimination towards models at Voices, Business of Fashion’s annual conference for “big thinkers” in the fashion industry. He received a standing ovation.) Of course, these revelations are a sad reminder of how unregulated and unenlightened the modeling industry remains. They highlight the need for basic health and safety standards — not to mention non-discrimination policies — within the industry.

Scully closed his post with a call to action: “Please keep sharing your stories with me and I will continue to share them for you. It seems to be the only way we can force change and give the power back to you models and agents where it rightfully belongs. And I encourage any and all to share this post #watchthisspace.” Thus far, Dutch fashion photographer duo Inez & Vinoodh and model Isabella Emmack (who’s walked for Balenciaga in the past) are among the more notable re-posters.

Update March 1, 2017Balenciaga Fires Casting Agency and Issues Apology to Models in the Wake of Instagram Shaming

[ via i-D ]