Terry Richardson lost a very lucrative ad campaign: is it the end of a gross empire?

Terry Richardson

You’re looking at images from Terry Richardson’s third campaign for Equinox gyms in New York City. Would you ever guess this was an ad for a fitness facility? It looks more like a campaign for Axe body spray or a nightclub ad. When the campaign surfaced, WWD diplomatically described it as “zero[ing] in on well-chiseled women and men in provocative nonathletic scenarios.” That’s what we all want in a gym, right? In addition to the ads at the bottom of this post, I saved this one for special mention.

Terry Richardson

This ad says, “Guys, if you work out at Equinox, you’ll soon be able to nakedly benchpress a scantily clad hottie too. Then she’ll have no choice but to dominate you in the bedroom.” Pure Terry.

Well the fun had to end sometime. Terry’s always been a creep of a photographer, but with the rise of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” video, people are starting to notice just how pervy he is. Petitions have circulated asking brands and magazines to stop hiring him. One such petition may have done the trick with Equinox, which has chosen not to work with Terry again. They are going in a “sportier,” less sexy direction. Thank goodness:

Terry Richardson’s controversial flesh-baring, sexually charged ad campaign for high-end gym chain Equinox is being scrapped in favor of a sportier new look.

Page Six has exclusively learned Equinox hired world renowned ad agencies Wieden+ Kennedy New York and R/GA to devise an energized new luxury fitness focused campaign, which sources tell us includes an estimated $8 million contract with R/GA to overhaul Equinox’s digital platform and its blog, Q.

Equinox creative director Liz Nolan confirmed to us in a statement: “We worked with Terry Richardson for three extremely successful campaigns. The natural point has now come to explore a fresh direction, and we’re really excited to launch a provocative new brand campaign in January 2014.”

Equinox has become known for its edgy marketing in years past with fashion photographers Steven Klein, Gilles Bensimon and Ellen von Unwerth shooting campaign images.

Famed lensman Richardson shot the campaign for the past three years, and drew criticism for depicting uber-skinny female models in body-baring clothing with male models in suggestive positions. Women have also been shown draped between the legs of male models — but never photographed doing any real athletic activity.

In July, one image of a model wearing a skin-tight Herve Leger-type dress while on all fours on a pool table was called “sexist” by a group called Sexism Matters, which started a change.org campaign to have the billboard removed from outside of its Bethesda, Md., location.

“Our daughters and sons walk by the billboard outside Equinox Gym every day,” the petition read. “They see a woman in a degrading sexual position . . . This is somehow meant to advertise for a fitness facility.” The billboard was eventually removed.

Richardson has since moved on to shooting other models, including Miley Cyrus, whom he directed in her controversial “Wrecking Ball” music video.

[From Page Six]

This is fantastic news for anyone who is familiar with Terry’s antics. His teamwork with Miley may have brought him even more notoriety, but it will come back to bite him too. Hopefully celebrities will follow suit in dumping Terry as well. I can’t wait.

Terry Richardson

Photos corutesy of Equinox and Terry Richardson’s revolting diary

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85 Responses to “Terry Richardson lost a very lucrative ad campaign: is it the end of a gross empire?”

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  1. Lady D says:

    Couldn’t happen to a sicker pervert. I’d like to step on him.

  2. TheyPromisedMeBeer says:

    He should lose the contract because he is a disgusting perv AND because those ads are ridiculous. Thanks, Equinox gym, but I’ll stick to running in the park. All those pics are telling me is that the douche level in your gym is significantly higher than what I’d encounter running outside.

  3. T.Fanty says:

    Good. That this man’s toxicity is allowed to pass as culture pisses me off, no end. It’s a step towards normalizing the cultural (and in this case, actual) abuse of young women who are not emotionally empowered enough to reject such definitions of themselves.

  4. Lopusta says:

    I only hope this is the beginning of the end of his empire…

  5. littlestar says:

    Looking at the first picture, and even before reading the article, I assumed Equinox was a brand of underwear/lingerie. I mind boggled to read that it’s a gym! Does sex have to sell everything? Poor poor Uncle Terry. NOT!

  6. Dani2 says:

    If not for anything else, he should lose jobs because of how crappy his work is. Like seriously, what the hell are these ads? Is his mind saturated with sex? That seems to be ALL that he can communicate through his work, so tiring that on top of all his shadiness as a human being, he can’t even be a decent photographer.

  7. blue marie says:

    Fingers crossed that this is only the beginning of taking that pervy douchewad down, his pictures are not art.

  8. Elodie says:

    I hope so… but alas I have a feeling that given his celebs friends and other connections, they might swoop in and try to come to his defense… I’m preemptively being almighty peeved by that.

  9. Hakura says:

    I think I’m in a hyper-cynical mood today, my apologies. I’m THRILLED that they decided to stop working w/him, but as they’ve used him for 3 years, & are apparently doing an overhaul on their site & ‘image’, is it not possible they’re just going for something new (& a little less controversial), to grab attention from more kinds of people? (As opposed to worrying about Richardson’s recent bad press?)

    I’m hoping that isn’t the case, & that some companies start standing up against this disgusting freak. But I also know businesses are more about the bottom line than anything. A TON of people would have to completely renounce Terry, researching & not buying anything from his campaigns & magazine shoots, before he’ll disappear for good.

    • Sarah says:

      If he gets dumped by a client, the “official” reason why won’t seem that important IMO. I don’t think Equinox is going to come out and say “OMG, we suddenly realized his last 3 campaigns for us were misogynist crap. Now we’re so ashamed at how bad they were and how they didn’t get us many clients”. No, the “moving in a new direction” excuse sounds much better.

  10. itstrue says:

    I come from the land of the hillbilly and he looks like an import to me.

  11. MollyB says:

    It annoys me that the men in the ads are muscular and athletic-looking while the women are just . . . skinny.

  12. frisbeejada says:

    Like a lot of people I signed the Change.org petition because I felt powerless to do anything else against pieces of s**t like Richardson, if the story is accurate and advertisers are noticing imagine what could be achieved if everyone who objected decided it’s time to stop these sleezebags in their tracks – the culture won’t change on it’s own (there’s too many vested interests, too much money, yes I know I’m, a cynical old cow…) we need to protest against the constant objectification of women and pornification of the culture. Thank you, I’ll get off my soapbox now and go and have a little lie down…

  13. Dragonlady sakura says:

    THAT was a gym ad?! He’ll, my gym looks boring in comparison. Seriously, uncle Terry gives off mad rapey/pedo vibes with me. I can’t see how celebrities use him for anything.

  14. Kate says:

    Maybe I’m missing something, but it isn’t like they’ve fired Terry or bought out his contract or anything right? He wasn’t signed up to do Equinox ads forever. They’re just going in a different direction with their advertising after a few years of using fashion photographers. They’ve used Steven Klein, Gilles Bensimon and Ellen von Unwerth as well, Terry just happened to be the last photographer they used before they came up with a new campaign.

    Terry does an awful lot of advertising work, and the nature of it is you work with each brand once or maybe a few times if you’re lucky and then they change it up. Only a handful of brands develop really strong ties with a particular creative team. It’s nothing to celebrate, he’ll have had the same thing happen 100 times, and every time it happens to another photographer work opens up for him.

  15. Tiffany says:

    Off topic but will this really hurt him. He comes from money, right?

  16. mercy says:

    My only question is what took them so long. Let’s hope this starts a trend!

  17. dorothy says:

    Couldn’t happen to a more disgusting person.

  18. themummy says:

    Can we stop blurring out little bits of butt crack and such? I know we’re super prudish Americans and all, but this is just silly. We adults can handle a butt crack or a nipple.

  19. SolitaryAngel says:

    I am happy to see this. I signed the petition at Change.org also. He makes me sick.

  20. DesertReal says:

    What’s with blurring absolutely everything? First it was MC’s tongue (which was kind of funny at first but quickly became extremely irritating) & now it’s… everything. This from the site that used to have Hot Dong Fridays? Really? I mean…why use a picture at all if a sliver of side booty is so scandalous???

    • themummy says:

      Thank you. I left a very similar comment at probably the same time you left yours.

      When I used to live in Germany the regular, everyday newspaper had a naked lady on like the 2nd page in, I think (if I remember correctly), every issue, for everyone to see–child or adult. And I’ve noticed on this site, we went from dong this and dong that, to blurring side boob and whatnot as if we’re five-year-olds or something. I do not see what is scandalous at all about the stuff that gets blurred on this site every day. Feels very, very Puritanical (and I’m not even a huge fan of all the nudity and stuff that is everywhere these days, and this STILL feels ultraconservative and Puritanical). I feel like a little kid being protected by mommy or something.

      Haha…I feel ultrabitchy in this comment. Oh well.

      • Pia says:

        It is not so much to “protect” the viewer so much as to keep them from losing their jobs. I don’t sit at a computer in a cubicle, so what I see here from my couch does not bother me, but there are many people who visit this site from work computers. Those computers are usually monitored, and you can be fired for looking at something “inappropriate”.

      • Bedhead says:

        Thanks, Pia. That is definitely something we worry about for our readers! We don’t want anyone to get fired for visiting. We also have to make our advertisers happy too. No ads = no revenue = no fun gossip site!

    • glaugh says:

      Whoa… there were ‘Hot Dong Fridays’? Damn, where was I?

    • Missykittens says:

      Bedhead, are you saying that your advertisers don’t want to see Miley’s tongue? Come on…

      I agree that the blurring out of everything is a little bit OTT. Here’s an idea! If you don’t want to get fired for surfing the net on a work computer, then don’t surf the net. It’s not going to shine brightly on you if your boss sees that you have been reading celebrity gossip instead of doing your work, regardless of whether the site has some side boob or coated tongue or not. Well that’s my opinion anyway. If I surf at work, I stick to news websites and nothing that has significant amounts of pictures because that attracts more attention re: bandwidth and so on. If I want to go on other websites while I’m at work, I do it from my iphone.

  21. Garrett says:

    I hope so. He is disgusting.

  22. drea says:

    I hope this is the start of a trend. I really do. But a gym chain is one thing, the fashion folks are another. I mean, look at American Apparel. Aren’t they still around and running those ads?

    The petition is a good start (12,000+ and hopefully still going) but Uncle Terry’s got deep connections and he’s not going to get run out of the business that easily. It will take constant pressure. More importantly, it will take a viable threat to a brand’s image, with financial consequences, for people in the fashion world to stop hiring him.

  23. Miss M says:

    I hope other brands and magazines take the hint too…

  24. TheCountess says:

    I was very happy to hear this; hope it is the start of many job losses for this perv.

  25. umyeah says:

    I’ve said this before, but why is he the only photographer hired for anything? I feel like there are a million other photographers who could take way better photographs than him. Is it the controversy surrounding him? He’s so gross. Needs to go away, with most of the trash he photographs. Yes, that means you, Lindsay and Paris.

  26. Nono says:

    Admission? I actually like this ad. I get it. He’s got a good eye for advertising. (It helps that he’s not been allowed to use his patented White Background with Harsh Lighting.)

    I don’t understand his celebrity snaps, though. They’re just base, robotic, soft pr0n, nothing interesting or redeeming about them. They’re not even titillating. I can’t understand how someone who strips (hah) all personality or humanity out of his subjects became so coveted.

  27. lisa2 says:

    I’m glad a lot of the celebs I like have not taken pictures with him

  28. Missykittens says:

    Companies change marketing strategies all the time, I doubt this has much to do with Richardson or the change campaign… If it is, I wanna hear them say it.

  29. homegrrl says:

    I don’t think it’s so bad. I like the harsh realism. I’m so tired of haze cam, and barbie poses. Sex in our culture is harsh; his photos are all “walk of shame”, the aftermath of the “sexual revolution”. Like Gloria Stein said, “don’t hate the player, hate the Game” And “the Game ” is everwhere, just like his pervy scary ads.

  30. Barbara says:

    Idiotic celebs have made him popular…..thinking they can make him another Andy W.

  31. Hakura says:

    This is off topic, & I’m sure others have already brought this up, but CB-Mod-ladies, I can’t reply directly to comments. (I’m
    stuck on the mobile version bc it can’t be turned off, & this device (an old iPod touch) is my only internet option right now). & my messages dont show bold or italics, even though I included the codes (like I’ve ways done). I realize this may be an issue only I’m having, due to the age of my iPod touch, but just wanted to let you know =)

  32. SensitiveNewAgeGuy says:

    I would like to point out that these ads are sexually degrading to men as well. To suggest a woman is penetrating a man via the blurred image or to suggest he is treating her like an object, simply because he is a man is just as wrong as objectifying a woman.

  33. Hypocrisy says:

    I just hope that’s the beginning of a general consciousness that enough is enough !

    I am sick and tired of the trivializing, exploitation of the female body in all the Entertainment industry. We have come to a point where it’s sexual overbiding to no ends, the more obscene, the better, Rihanna werking full frontal in a thong in a song video….something big bootey video vixens were doing a decade ago for rap songs degradiong us, calling us ‘whores’ and ‘bitches’…you could never hear those terms during the 80′s…even in the 80′s rap songs !.

    What’s the point for a singer to challenge p0rn stars sexual positions in their video ?
    It’s like female singers these days want to be singers as well as p0rn stars or nacked models while using their singing as a passport to get away with it….because they are classy…

    Quite frankly the space between Kardashian and lots of singers today is thinner and thinner. They both undress themesleves, once in a while…, some even have sex tapes leaked too. Just because they sing with a weak voice at that, doesn’t make it any less wrong.

    I swear the next level will be dancing completely naked on stage.

    They all contribute to the sad state of that industry and feed the likes of that perv, letting him shooting those kind of pictures…no glamour just pure trash !

  34. Sarah says:

    Honestly, Folks@Celebitchy, STOP blurring out pictures! We’re not in Kindergarten anymore. It’s a bootie you get to see not a full frontal!! Since when have you become so conservative???
    Again, maybe it’s me being from Europe and I don’t get the American way, but you haven’t done it before, so why now??
    I honestly don’t get it. If I wanna comment on the grossness of TR, I would like to actually SEE the complete pictures to have an opinion on it.

  35. Teeny says:

    Equinox looks like it’s more of a gym for douchey men. If the woman was working out half as much as the man, she would have far more muscle tone. She’s a twig, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, I think toned and defined (not beefy, unless that’s what you’re in to) muscles on a woman look a lot better when promoting a fitness center.

  36. thepragmatist says:

    While I believe Terry Richardson is an overrated skeevy hack of a photographer (disclaimer – I’m a photographer as well, albeit not one of people) with an inexplicable amount of success and recognition for a limited breadth of vision – he’s only part of the equation in ad campaigns such as Equinox. There are quite a few people besides Terry that conceptualize, storyboard, style, edit, and (ultimately) bless the finished product. Equinox has an art director, to say nothing of the $8 million outside creative team. While I’m sure Terry is actively encouraging these models to assume sordid poses during the shoot, there’s at least half a dozen people in the room behind him watching the monitors and offering criticism and art direction. And prior to the shoot there were several weeks of concept sketches and storyboards presented to management – at this level not a lot is left to spontaneity – finding models, booking space, building sets, scheduling the photographer’s time, etc., are all not done on a whim. The issue is much larger than the guy tripping the shutter. He’s an easy target of ire but there are many enabling him and his misogynistic, one-note vision.

  37. sunnydaze says:

    When I read this all I could picture was Globo Gym and Ben Stiller as White Goodman in “Dodgeball”