Comments about photo cause stir on social media

Model responds to talent agent's post
(Source: Brittany Strickland via LOLA Magazine)
(Source: Brittany Strickland via LOLA Magazine)

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Facebook users had a field day with a photograph a Northwest Louisiana business shared on social media.

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The attraction was not so much the photograph itself but rather the statement posted along with it Thursday afternoon.

We spoke with the publisher of Lola Magazine, Bevin Hicks, who said the photo originally appeared in their holiday fashion shoot for their issue that just released on November 1st.

Statements attributed to Michael Turney Agency opposed the decision to publish the photo.

"This is why short guys can't model," the post started out.

"Any real editor would notice things like this, are we the only ones who sees how out of proportion this couple is?"

The remainder of the post was unflattering as well.

Later, this comment was posted under the business's name:

"I do not agree with the standard, I do have to follow the rules."

Equally clear were comments Facebook users posted in response to the post.

"Seriously, girl, have you seen this kid's other modeling photos? Looks like he walked straight out of an Abercrombie ad or from the pages of GQ. If this dude wants 6'2" waif-thin, barely-making-it-by-on-crackers-and-water models, he needs to head on up to NYC. We'll keep our good-looking southern boys here, thank you very much. ;)"
"You live in Shreveport. Calm down. I'm a Chicago based photographer and have worked in editorial for three years. Diversity is so important and that includes height. We are so over this ... in the fashion world that you need to look one certain way. It's boring and more importantly toxic."
"Mr. Turney, I feel sorry for you having such a small mind and cold heart. My son out-classes you in every way. He is smart, compassionate and so handsome. I am so very proud of Aubrey!"

The comments went on from there.

As of about 9:30 p.m. Thursday, the post had been shared 321 times and had drawn nearly 350 comments.

Sometime within the ensuing 45 minutes, the original posting was taken down.

And users could only see:

When KSLA asked Hicks about the post, she called it unsurprising after working with Turney before.

According to her, some models represented by Turney were in that photo shoot he criticized and he had previously left negative reviews on their work.

"He had done that to Lola Magazine's Facebook page and our photographer's Facebook page so we kind of had known that this was his tactics and his way to go about things," she said.

"Initially, I just thought: 'We've got to check on Aubrey and make sure he's good.'"

20-year-old Aubrey Greer, the male model whom this criticism seemingly surrounded, told KSLA he'd laughed it off when he first heard about the post.

"I should probably just thank the guy for doing what he did because I've had different people in the area message me and they want to put me on a billboard in Shreveport!" he said.

Indeed, Hicks and other Lola Magazine leaders told KSLA they were overjoyed to see hundreds of comments posted defending Greer and the photo.

"They weren't going to stand for it and people that we don't know that had never heard of Lola Magazine had defended Brittany Strickland, our photographer and defended Lola Magazine and defended Aubrey," Hicks said.

"With this post or without this post, we are going to focus on people and feature people that were different in every way. Every color, every shape, every size," said Lola Magazine Marketing Director Carie Hart.

Turney declined an on-camera interview but did defend his post in a new post on his agency's Facebook page on Friday:

"Michael Turney Agency regrets that our post from last night was so misunderstood by so many people as an attack on this male model. In retrospect, I could have chosen my words more carefully, however, the industry standard for male fashion models is 5'!1 and I stand by the intent of the post.
I also regret responding in kind to the malicious and highly personal attacks levied against me, in many cases, by people I don't know and who are not even members of the Shreveport community. This is, as one newspaper reporter remarked to me this morning, a "non-story" and it's unfortunate that so many social media users feel the need to take a stand without full access to the facts.
Modeling and acting are both brutal businesses. As committed as I am to seeing dedicated and talented young people do their very best with their gifts, I will not sugarcoat their chances. If you can't handle rejection, then this is not for you."

Greer told KSLA he is focusing on the positive defense of him that came out of this.

"Positivity always trumps over negativity," he said.

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