Emily Ratajkowski said that photographer Jonathan Leder sexually assaulted her following a nude photo shoot in 2012, in an essay she wrote for New York Magazine on Tuesday.
The model, now 29, recalled traveling to Leder’s home in the Catskills for an “unpaid editorial” shoot, during which she posed both in lingerie and without clothes, under instructions from her former agent.
Ratajkowski, who said she was “very, very drunk” after drinking wine with Leder, said that the photographer put his fingers inside of her without consent while they sat on a couch together following the shoot.
‘I was cold, shivering, and huddled under a blanket,’ she wrote. ‘Jonathan and I were on his couch, and the rough texture of his jeans rubbed against my bare legs.’
Ratajkowski described how Leder began asking her about her ‘boyfriends’, and she says she ‘remembers talking a lot… about her dating history’, while ‘absentmindedly rubbing my feet against one another and against his for warmth’.
‘He told me he liked “that foot thing you’re doing,” and I remember this moment more clearly than anything else,’ she writes.
“Most of what came next was a blur except for the feeling,” she wrote. “I don’t remember kissing, but I do remember his fingers suddenly being inside of me. Harder and harder and pushing and pushing like no one had touched me before or has touched me since. I could feel the shape of myself and my ridges, and it really, really hurt.”
Ratajkowski said she “pulled his fingers out” and “didn’t say a word” to Leder, who walked away. She said she spent the night in one of the bedrooms they used for the photo shoot.
“I was both confused as to why Jonathan had left without a word and terrified that he would come back,” she wrote.
‘Later in the morning, I woke with a vicious hangover,’ she said. ‘I dressed quickly in the clothes I’d been wearing the day before and noticed that my hands were shaking.’
Upon checking her Instagram, she noticed that Jonathan had already put up one of her Polaroids from the previous night.
Ratajkowski also detailed several instances during the shoot when she says Leder made comments about her body, recalling that he branded her first set of Polaroids ‘boring and stiff’, before asking the makeup artist to ‘f**k up her hair’ before she posed nude.
Despite the fact that she had only been working professionally for a few years, the model says she had no fears about posing nude, noting that she had been ‘told by plenty of photographers and agents that her body was one of the things that made her stand out’.
‘My body felt like a superpower,’ she wrote. ‘I was confident naked — unafraid and proud.’
However, she admits that ‘a part of her disassociated’ when she undressed, and she says that she’d ‘had so much wine that giant black spots were expanding and floating in front of her eyes’ when she began to pose for Leder on the bed.
When the pair reviewed that second batch of Polaroids together, Ratajkowski said the photographer told he thought she would be ‘a big girl… big-boned, fat’, based on images of her that he had found on Google, in which she appeared curvier.
As they continued shooting, he picked out a particular image that he said he liked ‘because of her nipples’.
‘This one is so good because of your nipples,’ Ratajkowski says he told her. ‘Your nipples change so much from hard to soft. But I like them when they’re gigantic. I love when they’re giant. Giant and exaggerated.’
She recalls being ‘confused’ by his comments, adding that she ‘somehow felt that he meant to insult me’.
After the images from the shoot were published in a magazine a few months later, Ratajkowski says she pushed the experience out of her mind, and ‘never told anyone about what happened’.
At the time, Ratajkowski insisted that she had not given her consent for the images to be published anywhere other than the magazine they were originally taken for, and she slammed Leder’s book as a ‘violation’ in a series of tweets.
In her article for The Cut – during which she addresses what it means for a model to ‘own her own image’ – Ratajkowski recalls the moment she learned the book was being published, and details her desperate attempt to prevent it from being released.
She says that she only learned of Leder’s plans to release the tome when she was contacted by a ‘well-known magazine asking if they could help promote my new book of photographs’.
Ratajkowski searched online for details of the book and discovered that Leder was publishing a tome – simply called ‘Emily Ratajkowski’ – filled with the Polaroid photos he took during the 2012 shoot for $80.
Emily Ratajkowski 2012 Nude Shoot Picture / Images / Photo Shoot
Emily Ratajkowski Nude Photo For Treats Magazine (2012)