After Weinstein Scandal, a Plan to Protect Models


Elizabeth Cooper was quoted in a New York Times article about New York State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic’s proposed bill to protect fashion models who face sexual harassment.

Trish Goff, a former top model, discussing her experiences with Mr. Weinstein, told The New York Times, “The horrible thing is, as a model, it wasn’t that unusual to be in a weird situation where a photographer or someone feels they have a right to your body.”


The issue was first brought to Ms. Rozic’s attention a few months ago by Sara Ziff, a former model and the founder of the Model Alliance, a research and policy organization established in 2012. Ms. Ziff had been doing a project with the legal clinic at Fordham Law School on the working conditions of models, and, said Elizabeth B. Cooper, an associate professor there, when it came to sexual harassment, “we were all mortified by what we found, and surprised by the limited scope of the current law.”

Though Ms. Cooper did acknowledge that under the current law it was possible for a model to go to the police or district attorney with an abuse complaint, she said in practice that making a complaint was unlikely given the characteristics of many models, which can include their very young age, a lack of language fluency, or lack of support system.

Ms. Rozic is hopeful that a groundswell of public support will ensure that both legislature houses pass the bill by June, so it can be signed into law by the end of 2018.

“It’s impossible to imagine, given the events of the last two weeks, why anyone would oppose this,” Ms. Cooper said.


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