Three-part docuseries Scouting for Girls: Fashion’s Darkest Secret reveals how a group of men behind the world’s most successful modelling agencies were involved in a darker side of the industry. It exposes how modelling agents like John Casablancas, Jean-Luc Brunel, Claude Haddad and Gérald Marie, who denies the allegations, created a culture that enabled many of them to indulge in a spectrum of abusive behaviours, ranging from grooming and coercion to the rape of models as young as 15.
The film hears from a generation of forgotten women who were promised stardom and glamour, but instead found themselves used, abused and in some cases, trafficked between networks of powerful men. Building on an ongoing investigation by Lucy Osborne for The Guardian, the series delivers the fashion industry its own ‘me too’ reckoning, and follows the survivors, including Carré Ottis, as they come together to take action against those responsible.
Clare Richards, series director, Lucy Osborne, senior producer, and Carré Ottis, model, author, wellness consultant, activist and contributor to the film, join us to discuss Scouting for Girls that airs on Sky Documentaries on June 24th.
“Models are seen as beautiful people that get paid a ton of money, and that creates a discrimination against us that we shouldn’t have the same rights and protections as workers in other industries.” – Carré Ottis
What is Covered:
00:00 – Introduction and a clip from Scouting for Girls: Fashion’s Darkest Secret.
03:02 – What the docuseries is about.
07:15 – What Carré Ottis’s experienced as a minor and when she started speaking out about it.
13:50 – The scale of abuse that has been happening in the fashion industry.
16:40 – The challenges of telling the story and survivors reliving their experiences.
19:28 – How prevalent the abuse in the fashion industry is today.
21:15 – Clip: Carré Ottis testifying to the French police.
25:40 – How Lucy Osborne turned the investigative journalism piece into a docuseries.
31:00 – Why now is the right time to show this story.
39:22 – How the statute of limitation on sexual assault in different states affects the victims.
42:05 – What Lucy, Clare and Carré would like to see change in the fashion industry.
45:10 – What they want the legacy of this documentary to be.
48:00 – How the victims can reach out to the Model Alliance and share their story.
54:00 – Further information on the allegations made in Scouting for Girls: Fashion’s Darkest Secret.
Scouting for Girls: Fashion’s Darkest Secret (2022)
Lucy Osborne’s investigative articles in The Guardian
American Girls in Paris, Diane Sawyer 60 Minutes report
Connect with Carré Ottis:
Right to Replies
A lawyer for Gérald Marie has stated that he “firmly objects” to the “false allegations made against him”. She added: “He remains calm and refuses to participate in the fallacious and dishonest media controversy that has been fomented more than thirty years later. He is withholding his statements for the justice system, in which he has complete faith.” Gérald Marie remains under police investigation in France and is presumed innocent.
John Casablancas retired to Brazil in the early 2000s with the young wife he met at Look of the Year. He died in 2013.
In 2004, Elite was forced into bankruptcy and the brand was sold. The current owners have no connection with the prior management and have strongly condemned the historic allegations of abuse. They are committed to a culture of respect, empowerment and protecting the safety of their models.
Claude Haddad died in 2009. He previously denied allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
Jean-Luc Brunel declined to comment on the allegations made against him in this film. He has previously strongly denied all of the allegations against him. Brunel’s former modelling agency, Karin’s is now under new management. Prior to his death in February 2022, Jean-Luc Brunel declined requests to participate in the series or respond to its allegations.