'Reacher' star Alan Ritchson says he was sexually assaulted as a model during a photo shoot: 'It's like legalized sex trafficking'

Alan Ritchson at Prime Video's Winter Wonderland in 2023 and at a celebrity basketball game for the Education Advantage Foundation in 2009.
Alan Ritchson at Prime Video's Winter Wonderland in 2023 and at a celebrity basketball game for the Education Advantage Foundation in 2009.Vince Bucci/Getty Images
  • Alan Ritchson says he was sexually assaulted by a photographer years ago as a model.

  • The actor says he agreed to a nude photo shoot because he was promised his own clothing line.

  • The "Reacher" star described modeling as "legalized sex trafficking."

"Reacher" star Alan Ritchson says he was sexually assaulted during a photo shoot when he was a model and also described the modeling industry as "legalized sex trafficking."

The 41-year-old star has slowly amassed a number of impressive roles in the last two decades before becoming a huge name thanks to Prime Video's "Reacher" TV series, based on the "Jack Reacher" books by Lee Child.

Before he starred in "Smallville," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," and "The Hunger Games," Ritchson modeled for labels like Abercrombie & Fitch, International Jock, and N2N in the mid-2000s.

Ritchson opened up about pivoting away from modeling to become an actor in a lengthy interview with The Hollywood Reporter. In the interview, he alleged that a photographer assaulted him, prompting him to quit the industry.

"I was sent into a hotel room to do nudes with the promise that if I did the shoot, he would offer me a very lucrative campaign for a magazine and a clothing line. I was sexually assaulted by this guy," the actor recalled.

He said that his modeling agency, which he didn't name, knew about the unnamed photographer's reputation but didn't warn Ritchson.

"I left and drove straight to the agency that I was at in LA. I stormed in and said, 'Fuck you for sending me there. You knew what was going to happen, and you did it anyway,' he added. "There was a coy smile, knowing he got caught. 'It's OK,' he said. 'Not a big deal, calm down. I won't send you back there. I know he's a little aggressive.' I said, 'No! Fuck you!'"

Ritchson said he was lucky to find acting after the incident but noted that "it left some scars."

"I told them to never call me again. I quit the industry and it was the last photo shoot I've ever had. Those pictures were never seen or published," he said.

The modeling industry can be hugely lucrative, and some celebrities have made vast fortunes out of their image. For example, Kendall Jenner was named the highest-paid model in the world in 2022, earning $45 million, according to L'Officiel.

Although models can earn huge salaries, some came forward after the #MeToo movement with allegations of sexual assault. Four models who spoke to Rolling Stone in 2023 say they were blacklisted after speaking out.

In his interview, Ritchson also criticized the whole industry, saying that some photographers effectively traffic models.

He said: "Let's be honest, it's like legalized sex trafficking. The industry is not regulated, and it's a widely known secret that if you're hired on a job, you're basically being passed off to a photographer to be trafficked."

The "Blue Mountain State" star also pointed out that this was not an isolated incident.

"The number of times and situations where I was put in horrific environments where sexual abuse was the goal and the paycheck that you were desperate for in order to survive was the carrot, I can't count on two hands. It was quite often," he said.

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673) or visit its website to receive confidential support.

Read the original article on Business Insider