The casting agents who were accused of treating models ‘inhumanely’ at a Balenciaga casting have spoken out about ‘innacurate and libellous’ claims since being fired.
Last week it emerged that at an exclusive Fashion Week casting for Balenciaga, 150 young models were made to stand in a dark stairwell for over 3 hours while the casting agents, Maida Gregori Boina and Rami Fernandes, went out for lunch.
The experience, which left the models ‘traumatised’, was called out by casting director James Scully on his Instagram.
Scully, who is the casting director for designers such as Stella McCartney and Jason Wu and is an advocate for the fair treatment of models, spoke at the BOF VOICES talk last year warning that if he was made aware of any cruel treatment of models in the future he would name and shame the perpetrators. And indeed, in light of the ‘traumatising’ Balenciaga casting, he took to Instagram to explicitly label Boina and Fernandes’ attitudes toward the models as ‘sadistic and cruel’, and branded them ‘serial abusers’.
High-profile models including Jourdan Dunn, Edie Campbell and Leomie Anderson, as well as countless professionals in the fashion industry, showed their support and appreciation of Scully decision to expose the disturbing events.
Boina, who along with Fernades has since been fired by Balenciaga, has released a statement to Business of Fashion, stating ‘it’s important to stop the spread of rumours and set the record straight.’
She argued that Scully's depiction of the events was untrue.
'Because the reception area was unavailable, the staircase entrance into the mezzanine was provided to us to line up the models,’ Boina says. ‘Unfortunately, the building’s electricity went out for a period of time late Sunday evening, and the maintenance staff was unable to resolve the issue.
‘To directly address these accusations, the models did not wait for three hours in the dark, not even one hour,’ she continued. ‘We personally ate our lunch in the casting facility and – without question – we did not lock the models in the stairwell and turn out the lights. That would be completely inhumane.’
Boina then stated she and Fernandes were ‘saddened to be released from the casting without a discussion of what actually happened.'
‘We are also very concerned that James, as a casting director himself, has intentionally misrepresented the facts for personal career gain without substantiating the story.
‘While it is extremely important to raise awareness, it is also necessary to research the source and details of any story to ensure we elevate our cause and make progress.’