Content Warning: This article discusses sexual assault. If you or someone you know is affected by the following story, you are not alone. To speak to someone, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
On July 11th, Jaguar Jonze came forward in an Instagram post, alleging a prominent photographer in the Australian music industry of sexual misconduct.
Since the post was made, 59 women have shared their stories about the same music photographer, who has worked under two different names. The accounts are harrowing.
“59 women affected by the same man who has worked under two different names,” she wrote in a recent Instagram post. “88 other horrific stories. This makes me feel really sick. That so many womxn have had to endure this and keep it to themselves.”
Following Jonze’s initial post, the photographer, Jack Stafford, who operated under the Instagram username @re._stacks — an account that has since been deactivated— shared a statement to his Instagram stories.
“So that post was about me,” he wrote.
“I hate knowing I’ve caused hurt to people who I’ve wanted to work with for very genuine and honest reasons,” he said, before admitting that he uses the word “hot” a lot during photoshoots and realises that some people felt obliged to do naked or half-naked shoots with him due to his “encouragement towards the nature of the art”.
Stafford has now released a lengthy statement on medium, addressing the allegations of sexual abuse made against him.
“When the stories first started coming I wanted to dismiss so many of them due to the context they were being portrayed in,” he wrote. “I didn’t believe I was operating from an evil or dishonest space or especially not a predatory place. I was telling myself I am a good person. I’ve made mistakes, and I wasn’t to know.
“While there may be some element of truth to that in a very minimal way, I now have come to realise that if so many people believe I am capable of either consciously or unconsciously manipulating a situation to suit me and serve in an unpure way then I should 100% be listening to that and that they are right.”
Elsewhere in the statement, Stafford acknowledged “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.
“I have shared things that were not mine to share. Under the cover of and the innocence of, its ‘art’ and or my photo. This wasn’t and never is okay, the women in my life who I know, who I’ve worked with, they are everyones women, They are sisters, mothers, friends, wives, partners, they need protecting by men and I have failed that. When any woman is hurt by a man, all women are hurt by men.”
Stafford claims that in light of the recent allegations, he will no longer be pursuing a career in photography. “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. And I ask for the time to do this.”