Images are outtakes from the Hailey Clauson/Jason Lee Parry photoshoot for Qvest unless noted otherwise, pubished on Hailey's blog and downloaded from TFS. See our prior story Hailey Clauson & Jason Lee Parry, Urban Outfitters Locked in Lawsuit for actual published images from the shoot.
The Pundits Weigh In
Inquiring minds want to know -- so much so that Jason Lee Parry was on ABC's Good Morning America. Stylelite writes that he did poorly, taking issue with the photographer's argument that the alleged sexual suggestiveness of the image under question is in the minds of those who view it.
Verena von Pfetten sounds like that infamous Supreme Court Justice Potter who said about pornography -- "I know it when I see it."
I don't feel that way about the images. Perhaps because I went through a bloody partnership fight years ago having nothing to do with a model, I feel empathy for what Jason Lee Parry has experienced in the last three days. This is not to suggest that he has no guilt or wrongdoing in the situation.
I know that based on the totality of fashion industry images, there is no way I would consider the Hailey Clauson image pornographic. I also know that I stupidly wore an olive button at neck blouse and long skirt -- but had the audacity to add a fuschia jacket -- to court, only to have my partner's attorney ask me if I always dressed so disrespectfully, when appearing before a judge. He then asked me before the court if colors of passion were my favorites.
Still reeling from that old slut girl accusation, I am very careful about condemning people who are innocent until the facts are determined. Accusations of child pornography are grave for any of us, even if this is a civil case. I repeat this is not a women's studies class but a real-life legal case.
If this case didn't involve the "salacious images" of the Child, an image that portrays " “a child in a sexually suggestive manner and may be in violation of one or more federal and/or state laws”, I would be spending no time on this case.
The message that I get from Stylite and other women (?) bloggers is that they agree that legs open, although fully clothed and not in a bikini, is not appropriate under any circumstances for minors? In reviewing these images, I would NEVER consider that image "salacious" or pornographic, regardless of the model's age. The bloggers who are saying the facts are obvious scare me, frankly.
Is it sexy? Yes, but that is a far cry from pornographic and it is one image among many that were shot and reinforce Parry's argument that sex wasn't on his brain when he took these images.
Jason Lee Parry
Thankfully, Jason has some press help from colleagues, and he is speaking out, which is the best approach in my opinion. We're all experts at this point and reading different 'takes' on the case, even I don't understand where some writers are coming from. After Stylite, I read New York Magazine's analysis of the situation.
New York Magazine just posted the ABC News video of Jason Lee Parry making his own case. Even though NY Mag writes that the real issue is only whether or not Parry had permission to "distribute the photos". I'm no lawyer but "distributing" images includes delivering them to a magazine -- in this case QVEST -- versus putting them on t-shirts.
NYMag dismisses the child porn accusations, writing:
While a 15-year-old's private parts on a T-shirt would certainly be worrisome, the real question is actually whether or not Parry had permission to distribute these photos. The shoot was obviously condoned by the parents, but whether or not they signed release forms for the images is an entirely different matter (especially where money is involved, since these photos clearly turned a tidy profit).
Questions for New York Magazine:
I'm glad the writer blows off the 'private parts' issue, because I'm not, and I don't believe Jason is either, based on his comments to me. Any writer who thinks that being the subject of accusations like these isn't a career interrupter must not be very grown up and experienced in business.
Personally, I believe Jason has a counter suit on the kiddie porn charges and have told him so.
Other questions for New York Magazine: do you know which release forms were signed because you seem to suggest that there is only one release that covers an entire photography shoot. Not so.
The writer says "since these photos clearly turned a tidy profit". Now how the heck does the writer know that? S(he) seems to suggest that Jason Lee Parry received major bucks for those photos, and I doubt that was the case.
My opinion is also irrelevant as to commercial value of the images and how many shirts were sold. But in my extensive business experience, there is no reason to write that the "photos clearly turned a tidy profit".
In the ABC video, the interviewer Ryan Owens is "bearing down" on Jason Lee Parry, suggesting that he posed Hailey Clauson in this allegedly-provocative way. On this subject, I will say:
1. Hailey Clauson seems not to need a lot of direction in front of the camera, based on her other work. Looking at images from the Wildox Couture Fall 2009 campaign, Hailey is one of the most uninhibited, dominate-the-camera young models I've ever seen in my long career.
2. Not knowing that Hailey was only 14-15 when the images were taken, I wrote about her sexuality in the Jag Jeans Spring 2010 campaign. Today -- not wanting to be sued myself -- I suggest that Hailey has a strong command of the camera and she knows it.
If she was 18, there is no doubt that I would call her a sex vixen. Today I will call her the Child, as she is called in the legal papers.
As a professional, I am clueless as to why the Jag Jeans image above -- also taken when Hailey was under 16 -- met her parents' approval, but they claim to find Jason's "X-rated".
3. ABC seemed to suggest that Jason posed Hailey salaciously, when in fact the shoot is happening when Hailey was in full motion.
This single image ended up on the t-shirt -- and the legality of that process is properly challenged -- by the court papers.
If one looks at the totality of the images that became part of Hailey's Ford model profile and that ended up on the Internet, that single shot -- which I am clueless to call pornographic -- is part of a much larger group of photos that define the shoot and aren't the least bit provocative sexually.
Hailey comes off in many of her photo shoots and also in her casual snaps as a self-aware young woman who knows how to work a camera.
I agree this trait and talent is the makings of a first-rate model. I will also say that these girls are a dime a dozen, while acknowledging that some are better than others. Behind every Hailey Clauson is another girl just dying for the opportunity.
In my business experience, we would never touch a girl whose parents had sued a photographer for $28 million over images on a t-shirt. These kinds of problems, no one needs in today's complex business world.
There are even more images from the shoot, which I am using here. To pick a moment in time and suggest that pose is planned, frozen in the moment and shot several times to get it right, because the photographer is looking for the money shot -- isn't at all what happened at the Jason Lee Parry | Hailey Clauson photo shoot.
Looking into My Crystal Ball
If I looked into my crystal ball, being the clairvoyant woman that I am, this is what might have reasonably happened in this case.
As Jason says in the ABC Good Morning America interview, the initial setup of the shoot was fine. Jason booked Hailey from Ford Models -- who no longer represents her -- with the intention of shooting her editorial for the German magazine Qvest.
My crystal ball says that dad dropped her off at the set and returned for the last three looks. Dad looked at the footage in the camera and was fine, although we don't know if he paused over the image in question.
I'm thinking there were seven people on set, which included a hairstylist, two fashion stylists, makeup artist, two videographers. They all knew Hailey Clauson was 15 and treated her with respect. The story was one of a teenage girl hanging out at her father's motorcycle shop. The shoot was to have a cool, youthful feeling.
As a former fashion director at Victoria's Secret, with a house in Woodstock back in the day, I might want a bit of James Dean rebellion in the images, because I already would have known that Hailey was capable of playing the rebel role based on her other images.
Even in my wildest sexy dreams, I can't for the life of me find the public hair that is supposedly showing in the image of the Child. Wait, wait -- I see a slight shadow in her crotch . . . I'm making it larger . . . . This little smudge on the right looks like the Photoshop wand, not pubic hairs. And we have a straight light line on the right and some shadow.
Given that pubic hair is -- well hair -- and this is smooth, subtle shading, I'd say Photoshop was at work on Hailey's thighs but I don't really know. My own Photoshop skills are about B- level. The judge will figure it out.
As for the 'sides of her breasts' they are barely visible, and Hailey showed far more breast in her recent shoot with Victor Demarchelier.
Depending on the date of her 16th birthday, she may have been 15 when those images were taken. I don't know those dates but they come very close to overlapping. Hands down, there is breast -- no nipples -- in the Victor Demarchelier images, and I approve of them. As to Hailey's age when they were taken, that is another matter.
What went through my mind reading the details of this complaint was of the social conservative porn watchers who pore over images with magnifying glasses looking for evidence of pubic hair. I can imagine people blowing up Hailey's images all over the world, searching for the legally-proclaimed public hair.
I would love to see the judge in this case looking for the pubic hair. Thanks to Hailey's parents we are now looking for crotch shots of their daughter and I have found several. Brace yourself, Tony Duran.
Back to my crystal ball -- a female ball. We all know the differences between men and women. Jason probably acted totally different from my intuitional vibes about the case.
I'm feeling that Jason dropped off the images of Hailey Clauson at Ford and they were pleased. Don't mind me, though. I'm just guessing that Ford soon put the images on Hailey's model page and hired Jason to shoot their new faces division going forward.
I'm feeling static now, with one side saying they expressed dislike of the Child as posed in the photo under discussion and the other -- the photographer -- saying there was never a problem with any of the images. It's interesting that the Child would have posted the image on her blog and also on her model's page if dad was flipped out, but what do I know.
The Bloodied Shirt on Our Backs
Looking on Vimeo it was easy to determine that stories that the images of Hailey were stolen are false. It's clear that Jason Lee Parry and Blood is the New Black label have an existing relationship. Actually, I see several images of models in my mind -- whirl, whirl -- perhaps as many as 60 images of Jason's best work going to Blood is the New Black, in consideration of their t-shirts that celebrate the work of young artists.
Presto! Hailey Clauson's image -- vintage James Dean Urban Outfitter rebellion style -- ends up on a t-shirt. As to the manufacturer's assumptions that the paperwork around the model's image was in order -- what business book tells you to make those assumptions?
I've been a manufacturer and putting images of models and celebs on t-shirts without checking the paperwork is -- sorry, it's lame business procedures. There is NO way I would ship shirts to my clients without verifying the paperwork -- and asking for copies of it.
Let all aspiring creative business people read my lips: paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. This is not a game of hear no evil, see no evil. I understand that Blood Is the New Black owner Mitra Khayyam is super upset with this entire mess. Her financial future is at stake, as is Parry's.
Feet Up | It's Tahiti Time, Baby
Many writers and bloggers would have you believe that Jason Lee Parry took the money -- and a lot of it -- and ran.
That does't sound right to me. Jason looks like a fairly standup guy in that ABC video, in spite of what Stylelite writes? I'd like to drop one of these writers into the same situation and see how she fares -- with her whole life and career up against the wall.
It wouldn't surprise me if he called the Child's agent the moment he knew what had happened. You know -- one of those 'oh shit' moments we have, with our stomach's churning.
That's what I would have done. Being a straight up person, I would have said that I had no idea how much money had been made off the shirt, but I would find out and give both the Child and her agency the amount owed them.
I've been known to get a bit excessive -- intense, you could say. OK, call me neurotic. I might have called both Hailey Clauson's New York agency and Los Angeles agency over five times each to assure everyone that I would take care of the problem.
Being not totally clueless, I would have an attorney call the agency, making it clear that I wanted to work out the financial issues in this problem.
Let me say that I ran a $50 million business unit at Victoria's Secret. I would have dealt with this unfortunate problem as a partner to the suppliers. Yes, I would have grilled them in my office. I might have called them f****** stupid -- unprofessional I know. But I would not have looked at Jason Lee Parry and called him a child pornographer. And yes -- a girl or two has snuck in under the radar even at VS, where the age limit is 18, for modeling.
I would see this problem for what it really is and not start debating the opinion that young women should never be photographed with their legs open, therefore, let's kill the photographer.
Given the reality that the alleged "child porn" image had been in the public sphere for over 18 months -- including on Hailey's blog -- with no problem and a top spot on Google search, I would have believed that the issue was payment of funds due, since I could hardly get back the t-shirts.
OK -- so perhaps I'm a dumb blonde and unrealistic about how things work -- but I can imagine that I wouldn't be worried that this image had destroyed Hailey Clauson's reputation, when her career has zoomed only upwards since they were taken.
Within my own limited mental capacities, I could imagine thinking that what just might destroy the Child's career is parents who sue limited-means photographers and Urban Outfitters for $28 million.
The $64,000 Question
As to my penchant for paperwork, I admit that creativity is my strong suit. Still, I am possessed with a crack memory. Let me try to sleep deeply tonight and see if I have any crystal ball thoughts about me and model releases for commercial works derived from my images. I'll even try to be more specific about the Child in question.
I would have no problem in the world if the entire industry got off photographing girls under 16 or 18. I wish the entire culture would change around the sexualization of young women. I would support any effort to make those changes. But this issue is totally cultural and totally infused throughout the fashion industry.
Two weeks ago we were all writing about Thylane Lena Rose Blondeau.
To single our Jason Lee Parry for a trip to the career-ending woodshed or worse because of that single image strikes me as a bunch of bloggers gone hypocritical to the core, within the cultural norms in which we live. I also do not support the argument that Hailey is the victim to fashion-industry sex maniacs, which seems to be Jezebel's argument just now.
Hailey Clauson is not an adult, I agree. But if Hailey Clauson is so immature that she has no independent spirit of her own, that she feels unable to say "no" to allegedly salacious photographers, than get her out of the fashion business now.
This is not the young woman I see in these images, but I say get her out of modeling, if she is this clueless and afraid to be her own person.I see that Jezebel would jump all over me for suggesting that Hailey Clauson has innate sex appeal and she knows it. A Child of her age doesn't know such things.
Other lives are of value here, too. And I will not stand by and let Jason Lee Parry be the official bad guy without raising a bit of concern about how many of us will be going to jail in the future, if these new rules apply to photographing fully-clothed girls sitting on a motorcycle with their legs open. Anne
Thylane Lena Rose Blondean | A Supermodel in the Making AOC Body & Culture