Magnum to further investigate sexual misconduct allegations

In the wake of a scathing exposé of misconduct published in The Columbia Journalism Review, Magnum Photos has just published a letter in response, promising to reveal its Code of Conduct and launch further internal investigations into the substance of the allegations.

Magnum Photos is a 70-year-old international photographic cooperative that is owned by its photographer members.

The exposé centred around the actions of one of Magnum’s photographers, David Alan Harvey, particularly with regard to his treatment of women. In 2020, Magnum suspended him for one year in response to a series of images of child exploitation, but the article argues that multiple accounts from women suggest a pattern of inappropriate behaviour on the part of Harvey over a period of thirteen years. The exposé features a number of on-the-record cases, citing examples of Harvey’s behaviour that impacted numerous women.

In response, Magnum has just released a public statement in which it pledges to investigate the issue further.

“Today we are opening a new independent investigation into the allegations of inappropriate conduct by David Alan Harvey made recently in the Columbia Journalism Review. This will be carried out externally and independently by Susie Al-Qassab, a partner at UK law firm, Hodge Jones & Allen (HJA)."

“We recognise that making a report takes courage and we promise that all accounts will be dealt with sensitively and confidentially. The investigation offers a safe space that is independent from Magnum and no information will be passed to us without the consent of the person who reports it. Out of consideration for those involved, we would like to progress quickly, and so respectfully ask those who wish to come forward to consider doing so by the end of the month.”

In a complete reversal of a statement made previously, Magnum has now promised it will publish its Code of Conduct for the public to see.

“As we strive to improve, we realise that being more transparent about our processes is a key part of building confidence in Magnum. We will therefore be publishing Magnum’s code of conduct in the coming weeks. We understand now that not making this available last year contributed to some people’s reluctance to come forward, and we are sorry for not realising this sooner.”

“We also have plans to publish a new child safeguarding policy this year alongside a statement that sets out Magnum’s values in a new ethical code. Whilst our photographers practice independently and their work is diverse, there are standards and values to which we collectively aspire and that we would like to publicly commit to.”

“This has been a difficult and upsetting time for women in the photography industry, and for all those involved in Magnum. We are fully committed to supporting a full and independent investigation, and to seeing through whatever changes are needed to create a new welcoming and inclusive culture for all those who work for and with Magnum.”

You can read the full letter here. 


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