Casting Director James Scully Reminds Us Modeling Can Still Be Inhumane

Casting Director James Scully Reminds Us Modeling Can Still Be Inhumane
Casting Director James Scully Reminds Us Modeling Can Still Be Inhumane
In addition to Balenciaga, Scully writes that Hermès and Elie Saab are responsible for treating models "like animals," and that he has "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." This claim is, of course, ironic, considering the brand's creative director, Bouchra Jarrar, is a woman of color.

Balenciaga, however, responded to Scully's post. In a statement to Refinery29, the company said: "On Sunday, February 26, Balenciaga took notice of issues with the model castings carried out on that day. The house reacted immediately, making radical changes to the casting process, including discontinuing the relationship with the current casting agency. Additionally, Balenciaga sent a written apology to the agencies of the models who were affected by this specific situation, asking them to share it with them. Balenciaga condemns this incident and will continue to be deeply committed to ensure the most respectful working conditions for the models." Refinery29 has also reached out to the other brands whom Scully called out in his post for comment.

Scully's caption has, of course, been met with applause. Leomie Anderson, a model who has long advocated for her colleagues of color and called out the industry for discriminatory practices, commented: "Means so much to have someone in the industry such as yourself speak up against the mistreatment of models." Joan Smalls replied: "Preach. Also you should be casting more just to bring more justice and equality to this industry. Hilary Rhoda, too, responded: "Love you James! You have ALWAYS done the right thing and that always stuck out in my mind about you. You've always been so kind, loving, respectful, and inclusive ❤ so thank you for that."

He continued: "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."

Why the industry treats models more as commodities than human beings remains baffling to all who work in and out of the fashion world. The unethical treatment of models is ironic, for without them, there would be no one to photograph and no one to dress (that is, if high-fashion brands stay committed to their unwavering pension for sticking to casting tall, thin, white women). But, as Scully writes, something needs to be done — now.


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