79 women have accused a Melbourne photographer of sexual misconduct

Over the last few days, more than 70 women have allegedly come forward and shared stories of sexual misconduct in regards to a Melbourne photographer.

The revelations came after Brisbane musician Jaguar Jonze took to Twitter last week to share her experiences of sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of two producers and one photographer in the industry.

jaguar jonze sexual misconduct melbourne photographer
Photo: Justin Ma

After Jaguar Jonze took to Twitter to reveal experiences of sexual misconduct, 79 women have come forward to share stories about the same photographer.

On Friday, Jonze (real name Deena Lynch) took to Twitter to recount her experiences with two unnamed producers and one unnamed photographer in the Australian music industry.

“It is sad that in my time in the industry, I’ve come across predators who still abuse their place of power or profile and manipulate the trust people, especially young female musicians, have given to them,” Lynch described.

“When I was sexually assaulted last year by two producers, I felt alone, ashamed and didn’t know what to do, or where to go,” she continued. “I am just writing this to say, that if you have been affected by a similar story and need a safe space to land in this sometimes terrifying industry – please reach out to me.” 

Following this, Lynch was contacted by 20 people who came forward with stories about the same male photographer as well as one other.

From there, Lynch was contacted by even more people, and the singer shared some of the stories on her social media, including accounts of people being bullied into having explicit photos taken of them, and then having said photos shared publicly without their consent. There were also accounts in which the photographer initiated explicit conversations and exposed himself.

Initially, the photographer was not named due to concerns about not being protected by Australia’s defamation laws. However, following the allegations the photographer came out and identified himself as 29-year-old Jack Stafford. Stafford is a prominent Melbourne photographer who recently shot over 120 artists for a Skype photography series during isolation, featuring the likes of Kate Miller-Heidke, Odette, and Ali Barter.

Taking to Medium, Stafford has since published an essay in which he called himself an “abuser” who had displayed “pure misogyny”, claiming that a “perversion of my mind” lead him to “inflict pain onto people”.

Elsewhere in the essay, Stafford claimed that things he had said were perhaps taken out of context or intended as a joke and that he didn’t want to be put in the same bracket as people who had “physically hurt” or “touched” anyone. Nevertheless, he ultimately acknowledged that his behaviours were “wrong.”

The long-winded essay appeared to leave readers unimpressed, with one writing: “You’re attempting to cast yourself as hard done by, as some sort of redemption story in waiting, but the reality is that you have had opportunities before to apologise for your past actions of hurt and abuse and move on.”

By last night, Lynch had confirmed that the number of people who had come forward with stories about Stafford was 79, along with 88 “horrific stories” about other perpetrators. Friends of Jonze and fellow victims have also taken to social media to express their support and gratitude:

Whilst Stafford has mentioned the possibility of defamation, he has claimed that he doesn’t want to go down that path if he doesn’t have to.

“I support wholeheartedly the movement Jaguar Jonez [sic] is creating,” he described.

We’ll keep you updated on more as it comes.