Australian music photographer admits “I am an abuser” after sexual misconduct allegations

Jaguar Jonze helped amplify the allegations on social media this past weekend

Content Warning: The following article contains discussion of sexual assault.

An Australian music photographer has admitted to the allegations levelled against him by a multitude of women, after Jaguar Jonze posted a statement of support for victims over the weekend.

On July 11, Jaguar Jonze – real name Deena Lynch – posted a series of hand-written sticky notes to social media, in which she said she had “been hearing so many stories about a particular male photographer who works in the industry”. She also offered support for victims of sexual abuse and harassment in the music industry, encouraging them to reach out to her for “a safe space”.

Lynch posted another series of notes on Instagram yesterday (July 13), noting that the total number of women who came forward with stories about the photographer totalled 59. She also added that she could not “name and shame” the photographer due to Australia’s strict defamation laws.

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*UPDATE / TRIGGER WARNING* 59 women affected by the same man who has worked under two different names. 88 other horrific stories. This makes me feel really sick. That so many womxn have had to endure this and keep it to themselves. We deserve safety, we deserve respect. This has to be stopped. For anyone who has asked to name and shame, I can’t. My hands are tied due to the defamation laws in Australia that doesn’t protect our victims and voices. And as we figure out our actions we can band together, call it out and protect each other. We hear you, we see you, we believe you. Pass this on so we can find the courage to speak up, pass this on so that others can learn why this is wrong down to the micro-aggressions, advances, comments and suggestions. ❤️❤️

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In a statement yesterday, photographer Jack Stafford, who until recently operated under the handle @re._stacks, issued a lengthy statement on Medium in response to Lynch’s posts.

“When the stories first started coming I wanted to dismiss so many of them due to the context they were being portrayed in,” Stafford wrote.

“I accept that my whole makeup was inappropriate, that my personality was not okay, that even the little things matter, every off joke or statement or moment, every photo, everything, wrong.”

Stafford said he intended to permanently quit his job as a photographer, and “will not return to the photography world ever”.

“I have dissapointed [sic] many people in the music industry and for that I am sorry, I will never try re enter that space,” he wrote.

“While I’m sure with some shifty manipulative bullshit lawyer I could claim defamation in some of these instances, I absolutely will not go down that path if I don’t have to. I want people to know that. I created my work under re._stacks and the reason why I did that is because I was once before called out for behaviour that was not okay, I told myself they were just sensitive and that I’ll be right and that my ways aren’t that bad and made a slight change that did nothing. I was absolutely wrong. I am an abuser.”

Stafford has since removed himself from all social media accounts.

Lynch told the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday that the tally was “70 women affected by the same man [and] 88 other horrific stories”. The Herald also reported that Stafford recently photographed more than 120 artists, including Kate Miller-Heidke, Odette and Ali Barter for a coronavirus isolation series.

Some Australian artists, including Miller-Heidke, took to social media to applaud the victims’ bravery in coming forward.

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