Actress and model Emily Ratajkowski accuses photographer of sexual assault

The accused, Jonathan Leder, strongly denies the claims


The American-Jewish actress and model Emily Ratajkowski has accused a fashion photographer of sexual assault. 

The photographer, Jonathan Leder, strongly denies the claims.

Ms Ratajkowski, 29, said the incident occurred during a 2012 photoshoot at his home in the Catskills.

In a lengthy essay published by New York Magazine earlier this week, she recalled travelling to the town of Woodstock for a magazine photoshoot that involved an overnight stay.

When Mr Leder greeted her at the local bus stop, she wrote, he seemed “distinctly disinterested in me and didn’t meet my eyes.” She added that his demeanour made her want to prove herself “worthy of his attention”.

Ms Ratajkowski, who was then 20, said she was surprised to discover after arrival that the photoshoot would be shot in lingerie.

She said she felt relieved when a makeup artist later joined them at Mr Leder’s home.

Mr Leder offered her wine throughout the evening and after the photoshoot he suggested she posed for nude photos, she said. 

Later on, as the two examined the photos and the makeup artist left the room, leaving the two of them together, Ms Ratajkowski said she “stiffened”. 

She then alleged Mr Leder sexually assaulted her. “I never told anyone about what happened, and I tried not to think about it,” she recalled later in the piece.

Mr Leder published the photos years later in an $80 book entitled Emily Ratajkowski, of which he ran multiple editions. 

Some of the photos were among the “most compromising and sexual” ever taken of her, she added.

She said she only consented for the photos to appear in a magazine called Darius, a claim the photographer strongly disputes. 

Ms Ratajkowski has gone on to enjoy a successful career in fashion and film, appearing in David Fincher’s 2014 film Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, and appearing on the covers of magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar and GQ.

Mr Leder denied the allegations in a statement to the JC on Wednesday through his company Imperial Publishing. 

The publisher said it was “deeply disturbed” by the allegations, which it described as “based in fiction and not in fact”.

It also maintained it had “every legal right” to publish its books on Ms Ratajkowski.

Imperial Publishing said: “Mr Leder completely denies her outrageous libellous allegations of being ‘assaulted’. It is grotesque and sad that she is so vindictive about the publication of the photos.”

“It is disheartening to us that NY Magazine would publish such a tawdry and baseless article, yet sadly not surprising.   

“We believe in the work and know that it is very popular amongst Emily’s fans.  It is unfortunate that Ms Ratajkowski has been at odds with it ever since her career as an actress took off. 

“We do not feel that we should be bullied by a celebrity though, and cease publication because Ms Ratajkowski has decided that the photographs are no longer in her best interest.” 

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