“Reacher”'s Alan Ritchson Says He Quit Modeling After Being Sexually Assaulted by Known Photographer

In a candid, wide-spanning interview with 'The Hollywood Reporter,' the action star says there are “few redeeming qualities” about the modeling industry

<p>John Nacion/Variety via Getty </p> Alan Ritchson at

John Nacion/Variety via Getty

Alan Ritchson at "Ordinary Angels" premiere.

Alan Ritchson is opening up about the dark side of his modeling days.

Before skyrocketing to Hollywood superstardom as the title character on the hit Prime Video series Reacher, Ritchson, now 41, started his career modeling for brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and Calvin Klein. Decades after quitting the industry, the star reveals he was sexually assaulted by an unnamed, “very famous photographer.”

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ritchson recalls being sent to meet a well-known photographer in 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,” he continues. “I left and drove straight to the agency that I was at in L.A. I stormed in and said, ‘F— you for sending me there. You knew what was going to happen, and you did it anyway.’ There was a coy smile [on this agent’s face], knowing he got caught.”

After his agent told him to “calm down,” Ritchson says he asked them to never contact him again.

“I quit the industry and it was the last photo shoot I’ve ever had,” the actor recalls. “Those pictures were never seen or published. That was it. I swore it off and thank God acting found me at the exact same time so I was able to make a switch to a new career, but it left some scars.”

Ritchson shared other dark memories from his time as a model, calling the industry “legalized sex trafficking.”

<p>Jesse Grant/WireImage</p>

Jesse Grant/WireImage

Related: Reacher's Alan Ritchson Met His Wife in High School Ballet Class — and It Was 'Super Awkward'

“There are very few redeeming qualities to working in that industry,” he says. “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 actor also recounts a specific incident with fashion photographer Mario Testino. Ritchson claims in The Hollywood Reporter feature that Testino touched him inappropriately when seated next to each other at a Paris Fashion Week dinner in 2014. Testino has not returned The Hollywood Reporter's or PEOPLE's request for comment.

“He wouldn’t keep his hands off me,” Ritchson claims in the interview. “The entire time we were sitting at dinner, he was trying to rub my crotch under the table. I was like, ‘Get your hands off me, dude. I lived that life with people like you where you feel like you can just have anybody. I’m not an object to you. I’m way past that now, dude.’ But he was entertained by it. He thought it was the funniest thing.”

Ritchson says he left the event early but Testino called him later that night asking him to come to his hotel room. When Ritchson protested, he claims Testino tried to bribe him with the offer of a Vogue cover shoot.

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“I was like, ‘I don’t give a shit about the cover of Vogue,” Ritchson recalls. “I don’t give a shit about whatever opportunity you want to dangle in front of me.’”

<p> Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage</p>

Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

This isn't the first time Testino has come under fire. In 2018, an exposé from The New York Times accused both Testino and photographer Bruce Webber of sexual harassment by dozens of male assistants and models.

"Some of the stories were just like mine. I was just starting to build a platform and get my voice in the business, and I wondered, ‘Should I say something?’ Because all of the stories that those models were telling were my own," Ritchson tells The Hollywood Reporter of the 2018 investigation, which took place amid the #MeToo movement sparked by allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein in 2017.

In a statement to the Times at the time, the law firm representing Testino said the allegations against him were made by individuals who “cannot be considered reliable sources.”

Though he’s since left the modeling world behind, Ritchson admits there have also been pitfalls in his work as an actor. Following a shoulder injury on the set of Reacher season one, he says his doctor realized his hormone levels were off balance and put him on testosterone.

Despite a stigma surrounding testosterone treatments among athletes and action stars, Richardson claims the medication makes “staying healthy” easier.

“Look, I’m 41 now. Even without the stress of a major television show, your body stops producing as much, but as men we need it,” he says. “It’s responsible for a lot of mechanics in our body. It’s a mood stabilizer. It helps build lean muscle and engages those synapses. I built my body for Reacher in season one without any of that. It never even occurred to me that that was a possibility. Being on testosterone, it just makes all those things easier, building muscle, staying healthy, repairing your body, staying lean. Why would I keep that a secret?”

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