Emily Ratajkowski Pens Powerful Essay on Taking Back Ownership of Herself

Emily Ratajkowski

Photo Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Emily Ratajkowski made waves on the internet this week after publishing a powerful essay on being exploited, taking back power over her own body, and sexual assault.

Earlier this week in New York magazine's The Cut, the model wrote a piece titled Buying Myself Back and detailed the times in which other people — specifically men — claimed ownership of photographs and images of her body.

The emotional essay includes anecdotes about the time the 29-year-old was sued for $150,000 for simply posting a paparazzi photo of herself on her Instagram page, as well as when an ex-boyfriend held for "ransom" for $10,000 a print featuring her photograph.

“All these men, some of whom I knew intimately and others I’d never met, were debating who owned an image of me,” she wrote.

Later, Ratajkowski goes on to detail an experience she had with photographer Jonathan Leder at his home in 2012, in which she appears to make claims he sexually assaulted her.

“Most of what came next was a blur except for the feeling,” she wrote, adding “it really, really hurt” and that afterward Leder “stood up abruptly and scurried silently into the darkness up the stairs.”

Since then, she claims, Leder has published books with photographs he took of her that day without her permission. 

“I could try to force him to cease production of his books; I could tangle him up in a legal fight that drains us both, but I’m not convinced that spending any more of my resources on Jonathan would be money well spent. Eventually, Jonathan will run out of 'unseen' crusty Polaroids, but I will remain as the real Emily; the Emily who owns the high-art Emily, and the one who wrote this essay, too. She will continue to carve out control where she can find it,” she concludes her essay.

The editorial director of Leder's Imperial Pictures Publishing company, Heather Tynan, addressed the model’s claims in a statement to USA TODAY on Wednesday and said he "completely denies her outrageous libelous allegations of being ’assaulted.' " 

"We were all deeply disturbed to read Ms. Ratajkowski’s latest false statements to NY Magazine," the statement reads. "It is disheartening to us that NY Magazine would publish such a tawdry and baseless article, yet not surprising."

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