A backstage video filmed at the Texpo Fashion Week, showing an alleged altercation between models Hasnain Lehri and Nimra Jacob has gone viral on social media.
According to sources, female model Nimra Jacob had been assaulted by Lehri, after which she can be seen demanding from show organisers to take models’ safety seriously. At one point in the video, Lehri is seen being restrained by a few men present backstage.
Since the video went viral, Jacob has addressed the incident on Instagram, demanding better treatment for models working in the fashion industry:
“You cannot mistreat me. You can’t bully me. And you surely will not put your hands on me without consequences. We, in the fashion industry, have seen too much abuse, disrespect, and complete, utter negligence for our safety to tolerate it anymore. I have no space in my heart for forgiveness when it comes to abuse, harassment, bullying, assault, etc. Without any plausible cause, threats were made at me. I was verbally abused, and physically assaulted. My property was taken and used to blackmail me. My female colleagues were harmed in the process of trying to protect me.
“This all happened at work,” the super model continued. “Where I made sure to bring it to the attention of the management that I was being threatened by the perpetuator before he even became violent. The management should have taken action the first time I mentioned concern for my safety. I’m lucky there were eye witnesses to this man’s horrific actions, there were people who witnesses it all. As traumatized as I am, I’m not standing alone.”
“I refuse to let anyone abuse, threaten, intimidate, or belittle my colleagues or myself in any way.
“Today I stand to let you know that I will call out these abusers, harassers, bullies for exactly who/what they are. Every single one of them. If we want the industry to be a safe space, we need to collectively take a stand and check disrespect at the door. We need to demand accountability for those who are supposed to ensure our safety at work. And demand zero tolerance for the perpetuators involved in spewing such violence and aggression at the workplace. I’m done with this toxic, abusive culture. No more! Enough is enough!”
Soon other notable fashion figures like designer Kamiar Rokni condemned the incident as well as toxic male behavior on his Instagram account, stating that he was standing in solidarity with female models:
“Toxic male behaviour needs to be addressed in the fashion industry. Violence against girls backstage at a fashion show is a new low. This cannot be allowed to happen again it is up to us to come together and make this a safe space for our girls. Our models are an invaluable part of our industry and we can’t stand around while they are abused.”
Model Fatima Ahsan, who was also spotted in the viral video, took to Instagram to address the incident, and demanded that show organizers and sponsors make safer environments for their models:
“So everyone’s been seeing videos from the show backstage and sending them to me, asking if I’m okay, thank you so much for your love and concern. I am fine. The incident took place with another model and could’ve happened to anyone. Luckily it didn’t escalate. But we live in a fragile country and today’s incident just reinforces how no one takes the woman’s side. We weren’t secure in the environment. And the men (except for 1 or 2), they either stood and watched or tried to brush our concerns under the table and get the women to retract. Later they said let them deal with it themselves, let’s leave. Yes, let’s leave the women by themselves in an already unsafe environment. No one in charge – none of the organisers – nobody took responsibility it was only the female models that came together and took a stand.
To all the men, show organisers, and everyone innvolved. Do better. You just walked away from injustice and we’ll remember that.”
Model Zara Peerzada called out the organisers who hire toxic men for their shows, and asked designers to stop being complicit:
“Stop hiring violent males to walk your shows, be in your shoots. It’s not complicated. How about when you see abuse taking place you address and intervene? It’s not complicated. Stop doing empowerment campaigns for women to sell your clothes when you don’t have an ounce of respect for them or their safety. It’s not complicated. This is not an isolated incident.”
Visual artist and designer Rehan Bashir called this a case that showed how “standards within the industry keep plummenting towards abysmal depths”, and expressed solidarity with female models