THE agents accused of mistreating models by fellow casting agent James Scully have vehemently denied the claims. The duo - Maida Gregori Boina and Rami Fernandes – refuted the claims via an email from Boina to BoF. While the statement said that the duo “commend James Scully for raising awareness of the issues of ethnic diversity and the humane treatment of runway models”, it also condemned his “inaccurate and libelous remarks”.
“It is important to stop the spread of rumours and set the record straight,” Boina wrote. “The pre-casting for Balenciaga took place on the mezzanine level of its Paris headquarters. Balenciaga provided us with the casting facility, and its senior staff was present and actively involved at all times. Over a period of 10 hours, we considered approximately 150 models to fill 57 slots, seeing eight models at a time to expedite the process. Because the reception area was unavailable, the staircase entrance into the mezzanine was provided to us to line up the models. Unfortunately, the building’s electricity went out for a period of time late Sunday evening, and the maintenance staff was unable to resolve the issue. We then relocated the models to the reception area to continue the casting. To directly address these accusations, the models did not wait for three hours in the dark, not even one hour. We personally ate our lunch in the casting facility and – without question – we did not lock the models in the stairwell and turn out the lights. That would be completely inhumane. Throughout the entire process, we provided the most comfortable accommodations allowable based on the facilities provided.”Supermodels Back Model Mistreatment Revelation
Supermodels Back Model Mistreatment Revelation
Despite accusations of libel, Scully was unrepentant today telling BoF that this was no isolated incident: “What Maida and Rami did, they have been doing for a long time. They are the king and queen of abuse. I’ve heard stories from girls who were left waiting for so long without food or water that they ordered a pizza, and Maida came out and started shouting at them and calling them pigs.”
It bears mentioning that, while none of the models who were present have spoken to the press, several did concur with Scully’s version of events on
; asserting that they had suffered this treatment at this or previous castings.View this post on Instagram
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 & Rami (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
Vogue cover girl Edie Campbell did add her voice to the conversation today, however, telling The Guardian that the reports of the conditions at this casting did not surprise her.
"It’s also probably not the most shocking example I’ve heard,” Campbell said. “I’ve been incredibly lucky. I have – by luck and by good management – made it to the top one per cent who manage to have a voice and agency over their own careers. But I have witnessed a lot of upsetting things. I’ve seen girls be told to run laps around the studio. It’s a cattle market. The problem with fashion is that it is a very informal industry. Boundaries are crossed and it allows people to behave in ways that would not ever be accepted in any other ‘work’ environment. It is also a closed system. If you speak out, you are faced with the very real threat of never working again. And that is why what James is doing is so unbelievably brave and should be applauded.”
The casting agents accused, meanwhile, say they feel that Scully has “intentionally misrepresented the facts for personal career gain without substantiating the story”.
Balenciaga has terminated its relationship with Boina and Fernandes as a result of the incident.