A lauded photojournalist and founding member of VII Photo, Antonin Kratochvil has left the agency after a storm of controversy over his alleged sexual harassment of female photographers. Kratochvil was suspended from VII Photo in July after an investigation into sexual harassment in photojournalism by Kristen Chick was published in the Columbia Journalism Review. Chick’s lengthy article included various allegations that he had sexually harassed female members of the agency, both verbally and physically. Kratochvil has denied the accusations but, according to VII Photo, submitted his resignation to the agency on 24 August. VII Photo states that his resignation was immediately accepted, and it publicly announced his departure on 03 September. Kratochvil’s case comes hard on the heels of Patrick Witty’s departure from National Geographic, where the deputy director of photography’s inappropriate behaviour towards women photojournalists was the subject of an internal investigation. Both cases, and Chick’s article, can be seen as indicative of the soul-searching currently underway in photojournalism, a sector that even Lars Boering, managing director of World Press Photo has described as “macho”. Magnum Photos …
Antonin Kratochvil has been suspended from the VII Photo Agency, pending an investigation into accusations he sexually harassed female photojournalists in the agency. The allegations were made in an article written by Kristen Chick for the Columbia Journalism Review, which contends that sexual harassment is widespread in photojournalism, and cites Kratochvil as just one example.
The report includes quotes from photographer Anastasia Taylor-Lind, a one-time member of VII, stating that Kratochvil physically groped her at a VII Annual General Meeting in Paris in 2014. “She says she was approached by founding member Antonin Kratochvil, a well-known photojournalist who has won three World Press Photo first prizes over his long career,” the article reads. “Taylor-Lind was wearing a long skirt, and said she stood with a group of people near a window during a break from the meeting.
“Without warning, Kratochvil slid his hand between her buttocks, she says, and pushed it forward until he was touching her vagina over her clothing. He held his hand there for several seconds, she says. She froze until he removed his hand and then she walked away.”