Photojournalism has a severe problem with sexual harassment, with women in the profession being subjected to assault, unwanted advances and more from editors and colleagues, according to a report from the Columbia Journalism Review.
In an investigation that spanned five months with more than 50 subjects interviewed, CJR documented alleged abuses by photographers Christian Rodriguez and Antonin Kratochvil and that the Eddie Adams Workshop and the VII Agency have ignored complaints about abuses.
"The accounts of sexual harassment and intimidation in the Columbia Journalism Review's special report, ‘Photojournalism’s Moment of Reckoning,’ are grossly disturbing and completely unacceptable,” said National Press Photographers Association president Michael P. King. “The NPPA takes allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct seriously and does not and will not tolerate any such behavior from our employees, members, volunteers, and event staff and attendees. Such behavior has no place in this association and no place in the visual journalism industry.”
“NPPA's Sexual Harassment Policy was updated in 2015 with a comprehensive harassment policy applying to all employees, officers, directors, volunteers, members and event participants. In 2017, the Code of Ethics was updated to include: ‘Do not engage in harassing behavior of colleagues, subordinates or subjects and maintain the highest standards of behavior in all professional interactions.’ In early 2018, we refined our Judiciary Committee reporting standards in the interest of easing the burden of bringing a complaint,” King said.
“The NPPA Judiciary Committee – once it receives a complaint signed by at least three NPPA members in good standing – is charged with investigating and adjudicating charges made against members for violations of our Code of Ethics or other activities or actions detrimental to the best interests of the industry and association. Signatories of such complaints do not need firsthand knowledge of the veracity of claims. Our members are strongly encouraged to make use of this process when concerns arise.” King said.
The NPPA is also joining with the International Women’s Media Foundation in calling for leadership in the photojournalism community to address sexual harassment when it occurs and to take appropriate action or to make policy changes immediately; not when there is a risk of exposure or brand damage. Lack of leadership and accountability has driven countless photojournalists out of their preferred profession and left those who remain hampered by the fear of being labeled problematic, depriving them of equal opportunity for success if they dare to speak out.
Update, July 18, 2018:
The Eddie Adams Workshop issued a statement on its website in response to the Columbia Journalism Review article. The statement included:
"Last year we implemented our Code of Conduct which includes a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination and harassment. All Workshop participants are required to sign the document, and any violation of the policy will result in immediate, permanent removal from the Workshop. In addition, we are working with outside counsel to develop specific procedures for addressing allegations of misconduct, as well as mandatory sexual harassment training at the commencement of the Workshop. We expect to announce more details about the training and protocols soon."