Benjamine Bowers, a male model is filing a $1 million lawsuit against Abercrombie and Fitch and a modeling agent referred to him at the time (Brian Hilburn) who was present at the shoot for demanding that he strip and masturbate at a photo shoot so he could take on a relaxed countenance for the pictorial.
tmz: The suit claims during the June 17, 2011 shoot, Hilburn convinced Benjamine that he needed to display a relaxed look for his modeling portfolio, and the best way of achieving that look was to masturbate in front of the camera, so the photog could capture his expression immediately after orgasm. And for good measure, Hilburn allegedly told him the drill was to do the whole thing in the buff.
What strikes the author, who in his youth also worked as a male model is the banality of the situation. For starters why did the model go along with the order to strip and masturbate? Did he not think at the time to desist, to get on the phone with his mother agent, to propose an alternative way to achieve the relaxed look? And then on the agent’s and photographer’s side, why did they go with this charade? Was there something sexually suggestive or implied by this act? Would a professional agent or photographer in good conscience legitimately ever ask for such a thing and furthermore was Abercrombie and Fitch aware that this was going on during the shoot? Surely they would have never sanctioned such behavior?
But here’s where it get’s icky:
Benjamine says he was a trooper and took matters into his own hands during the shoot. But Ben says after he masturbated, Hilburn exposed himself and commented on the relative size of their penises.
Commenting on the relative size of their penises? Is this suppose to be a fashion shoot or a behind the scenes come on pitch? Did Hilburn or the photographer have anything else in mind when Bowers stupidly (one doubt that he was forced to participate in such an act or lose the job) exposed himself? And why is Bowers suddenly going after A & F now, a year later? Did he only just realize what happened, and shouldn’t he more mad at himself than anyone else?
Benjamine feels used and believes the photos were never intended to help his career … but just to give Hilburn a cheap thrill.
Is that to suggest had the shoot led to a lucrative A&F campaign he would have played along, but because it didn’t he’s now mad as hell. Yes he was certainly used, but one wonders to what degree was he willfully compliant?