On Monday, casting director James Scully posted some scathing commentary on Instagram addressing the alleged mistreatment of models by casting agents Maida Gregori Boina and Rami Fernandes, who were working for Balenciaga. Scully’s Instagram called them “serial abusers” for allegedly making models wait in a darkened stairwell for three hours during their casting for Paris Fashion Week.
In a very long caption, Scully accused Boina and Fernandes of lining up the models into a stairwell, and telling them that in order to be seen they had to stay, and “in their usual fashion,” closing the door, hitting the lights and going to lunch. According to Scully, “most of the [models]” up for consideration for the Balenciaga show “asked to have their options cancelled.”
The Cut reports that Balenciaga then “discontinu[ed] the relationship” with Boina and Fernandes, citing an official statement from the brand:
On Sunday, February 26th Balenciaga took notice of issues with the model castings carried out on that day. The House reacted immediately, making radical changes to the casting process, including discontinuing the relationship with the current casting agency.
Additionally, Balenciaga sent a written apology to the agencies of the models who were affected by this specific situation, asking them to share it with them.
Balenciaga condemns this incident and will continue to be deeply committed to ensure the most respectful working conditions for the models.
The comments on the post were filled with models thanking Scully for speaking out on their behalf. For what it’s worth, Scully was clear in his stated mission to blow the whistle for models new to the industry, who are often afraid to speak up and say something about mistreatment for fear of losing their jobs. “Please keep sharing your stories with me and I will continue to to share them for you,” he wrote. “It seems to be the only way we can force change and give the power back to you models and agents where it rightfully belongs.”