Over the past several days, more than 100 women have shared stories of harassment and assault at the hands on an “unnamed photographer.” As the number of allegations grew, Australian music photographer Jack Stafford eventually went online and confessed to being the unnamed “abuser,” apologizing for his actions and saying that he would be “cancelling” himself.
The confession itself was published on Medium on July 12th, but the story begins two days prior, when Brisbane musician Jaguar Jonze shared her experience with sexual harassment in the industry through Instagram. In that post, she mentioned an “unnamed photographer” and invited others to reach out and share their own stories.
Over the past five days, over 100 women have come forward.
“105 people have now come forward to me with allegations toward the same photographer. This has been a truly sickening and disheartening few days,” reads an Instagram post published yesterday. “I have been taking the time before I updated the number as it came in like an avalanche, to be able to listen as much as I can and to figure out what we can do as next steps.”
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*TW / PLEASE PASS ALONG* 105 people have now come forward to me with allegations toward the same photographer. This has been a truly sickening and disheartening few days. I have been taking the time before I updated the number as it came in like an avalanche, to be able to listen as much as I can and to figure out what we can do as next steps. Please read the following in a safe place and when you’re ready. This is for all the womxn who have come to me with the stories whether it be for the perpetrator that has been named in the media, or for all the other ones that are still, disgustingly, hiding in the shadows. We have to speak up, we have to take action. As a person who has gone through this process, it can be extremely painful, detailed and clinical. Please bring a person of trust for support if you need to. I have carried my last few days with a heavy heart and just want everyone to know that @sheisaphrodite and I are still listening. My inbox will always be open. And I want us to come together with a loud voice to create a change. I urge you to file a report so that this is more than a story. The change is already happening. I am here with you, and believe you. *Please continue to update us so we can inform media and victims *Others’ screenshots shared are in my Highlights *All of the media articles, screenshots of his apologies on Insta Stories, apology statements are in a link in my bio, as well as a mental health + sexual offences resource sheet.
Undoubtedly seeing the writing on the wall, Stafford began by outing himself as the perpetrator on Instagram (now deactivated), before publishing the public confession and apology on July 12th—when the official number of accusers was “just” 59.
“I am an abuser,” reads the statement. “While I like to keep some anonymity for the sake of my own physical well being I want it again to be clear that if the things I have done result in me having to apologize to people or many people in even [sic] a courtroom, or result in me having to face a charge, I will face that.”
“I abused my power. And have displayed pure misogyny in more than just my professional career but also in my personal life, with conversation and other actions to people who tried and failed to stop me. This wasn’t their fault.”
He goes on to say that he accepts the “destruction” of his livelihood and reputation as a result of his actions and the tens of allegations against him, claiming that he will never return to photography.
“People have called for my destruction and I can assure you that has occurred, this is no plea to change or defy that, I accept the destroyed state, I deserve it, good friends, good job, and a good home, are all things I was privlidged [sic] to have had and I abused that,” he writes. “I’m removing myself from the society I was in to figure these things out and get the help needed and I will not return to the photography world ever.”
The full statement runs to over 3,300 words, including promises never to pursue photography again, never to return to the music industry, and to spend his money on therapy in order to address the abuse that he says is the root cause of his behavior.
The response to Stafford’s statement has been anything but sympathetic, in part because he hints that not all of the stories are accurate, and in part because he seems to plead ignorance as an excuse on several occasions. Speaking with The Guardian, Jonze said that the apology has, in fact, made many of Stafford’s accusers angry.
“I found it to be a huge defence of ignorance and I think that’s not good enough … I know that that apology angers them,” she told the newspaper. “I think he put himself forward as a social media martyr for men when I don’t think he’s even taking the time to understand his actions or is able to do deep reflective thinking needed to even begin those steps of being that role model for men in society.”
Jonze says she’s spoken with the police regarding the allegations she’s received, and is encouraging the women who have reached out to do so as well. Stafford’s claim that he would be willing to apologize and face charges in court may soon be put to the test.
(via Inside Imaging)