Why Public Blacklists Are Bad

Public blacklists–lists of people an individual doesn’t recommend working with–can be found on many profiles on Internet modeling sites.  They are often fueled by anger and judgement, and are usually created and added to during the heat of the moment, while one is angry due to the actions of the very person they’re blacklisting.  The list-maker usually just wants to “get back” at the person whom they feel wronged them, and quite often, the list maker doesn’t pause to think of the consequences to themselves that these lists often have.

Consequences for the person with the list, instead of the people on the list?  You bet!

As someone who takes what she does seriously, I don’t like the idea of working with someone who’s got a flake list a mile long (or even just a handful of names) on their profile page.  In fact, it makes me wonder what in the world that person has done to cause so many people to no show up, or otherwise not deliver as promised.  But instead of asking what the deal is, I’ll just move on and find someone else to work with, because it’s far less of a headache.

Additionally, a profile that’s got a “do not recommend” list on it makes me wonder if the only purpose of the list itself is to get vengeance on someone, and not actually help out the person who might be looking to work with the person on the list.  With a blacklist telling only one side of the story, it’s quite possible that (for example) the model ended up there because she refused to let herself be pressured into shooting something she wasn’t comfortable with, and the photographer put here there to get back at her for not giving him what he wants.  Or maybe the model’s there because she refused to TF* with the photographer, but paid his biggest competitor for a shoot.  Maybe she bugged him for 6 months asking for images from a TF* shoot, and he got sick of it and blacklisted her.  It’s impossible to know.

A blacklist also means that I have to be concerned about ending up on a blacklist.  Not because I’m a flake, but because if something out of my control were to happen to spoil the shoot, would it earn me a spot on that list, or would I not have to worry?  That doesn’t appeal to me in the least.  I’d rather just not book with that person, because then I don’t have to worry about finding out.  Given the choice, I’d rather work with someone I trust to deliver and not hold a grudge than someone who’s got a list on his or her profile.

And that brings me to another point.  Experiences vary by person, and sometimes, personalities just don’t match up, making working together a challenge.  What one person might view as ok behavior, another might think is a diva attitude.  A joke a photographer tells on set might make one model laugh, and could offend another.  You get the idea.  Because of this, it’s hard to take blacklists seriously.  How do you know the reason the photographer or model is on that person’s blacklist is more than just a simple personality difference, which resulted in a strained or awkward shoot?  You don’t.

That said, how do you even know the 2 parties worked together?  A friend of mine was put on a blacklist by someone because they had a disagreement on one of the modeling site forums.  They’d never worked together, never talked about working together, and weren’t even in the same state.  But because there was an argument on the forums, my friend was blacklisted.  (It was asked by site moderators, later, that the person with the list limit it only to people they’d actually booked work with, and to remove people they’d simply disagreed with in the forums.   But yea…)

What if you get the other side of the story?

I suppose one could message everyone on someone’s blacklist, but who has time for that?  I don’t.  I’d much rather just work with someone who keeps their drama to themselves.  If they have drama, that is 😉

In a nutshell? Having a blacklist on your profile makes you look like a grudge-holding drama queen.  And that’s a bad thing.

Keep your blacklist private, and share specific experiences if asked.  Much more professional.

10 Comments to “Why Public Blacklists Are Bad”

  1. I agree with you. I do list models I’ve worked with on my Model Mayhem page along with the number of times we’ve worked together (X3 for example), but I would never have a black list. I much prefer to accentuate the positive.

  2. As I see it the purpose of a Blacklist is not to punish the person that is listed, but rather to warn others that there is (or at least has been) some sort of problem with this person in the past.

    If a bling person was about to step off the curb into the path of an oncoming bus, that was driving on the wrong side of the road, would you warn them? Would you be concerned about what the bus driver might think?

  3. I don’t think you understand the point of my post. Regardless of the purpose of the list (punishing or warning), it often still makes the person with the list look bad, especially to experienced models who very likely don’t want to deal with drama. There’s nothing wrong with having a blacklist, but keep it private and share it on an as-asked basis.

    Your analogy is off-base in this situation, as they are two COMPLETELY different scenarios. But if a photographer were as dangerous as an oncoming bus with a driver who clearly wasn’t paying attention (as he was driving on the wrong side of the road), then that’s a different situation entirely. Those types of people shouldn’t be photographing others, and should (very likely) be in jail. I have spread warnings about people like Al Carter, Bob Kozel, and others before on my blog. But I’d still NEVER post them on my profile on a modeling site, as my profile is not the place to highlight those kinds of people. Of course, anyone who deals with such a dangerous person should also file a police report, first and foremost, before warning others via blog, facebook, twitter or whatever.

  4. How do I fight back and get off the black list? It is sooooo unfair.

  5. You don’t fight back. You work hard to make it so that your professional reputation is such that being on one single blacklist will not harm said reputation. Is it a lot of work? You bet. Will it take awhile? Possibly.

  6. I have a problem with this, their are many other variables that may constitute putting someone on a blacklist. I agree with the OP, but I have many photographer friends in my circle and all of them are as professional as many others. But to have my friend be accused os rape by a models pissed a lot of us off, Model did not know, although it stated it in her contract that the photographer records the entire photo-shoot session and when the attorney’s and police saw the video along the fact that their was another girl in the room (assistant) her story changed and she jumped state and moved. Other photographers need to be aware of individuals like this. so yes on one hand, don’t advertise your black list, but you need to do it in a way discreetly to warn others.

  7. There’s a difference between a confidential, professional conversation between colleagues or friends, and a public blacklist. What you are describing would fall more under the former than the latter (unless you posted the accusing model’s name somewhere public). I have been privy to many private conversations in various shapes and forms–in-person conversations between friends at social gatherings, in-person conversations with colleagues at events, and private messages asking for references from fellow models–and there is nothing wrong with that kind of thing as long is what is said is retained in confidence and kept private (or unless you ask if the person sharing the info is ok with their name being passed along).

    Bottom line? Keep it private. If you’re asked, share. But don’t just go around sharing information about someone just because they wronged a friend of yours (especially if the wrong-doer has moved to a different state). It will just make you look vindictive, and will work against you.

  8. I agree to a point , but if the accuser charge you wrongly for this sort of crime than why would I look vindictive? If I were not a photography and a regular Jon doe you bet I would spread her or his name. Their are individuals who have spent years in prison from being falsely accused, so why not do the se on the photography community , Why? Because I would look vindictive, not always I don’t think so

  9. Ok, well, I can’t stop you from doing what you want. But when I modeled, I was pretty diligent about checking references, and if a photographer interested in working with me had a blacklist, and despite that, I thought their work would be good in my portfolio (or they offered to pay me) I would have a photographer friend contact that photographer doing a reference check on one of the models on said list and report back to me. I often did the same for photographers when it came to models with blacklists. Hearing that person’s side of the story gives a good idea of how the photographer in question dealt with things. Were they a drama llama, or someone who deal with a couple bad situations? Were they the common denominator, or just had bad luck with 1/25th of the models they’d worked with in the last year?

    But if the response back was “well, the model didn’t actually do anything to ME, but she accused a friend of mine of [something]” I wouldn’t work with the photographer. I personally don’t feel that it’s right to publicly blacklist someone you have never worked with. Again, privately sharing the info is fine (at a networking event for example), but when you are going off of third-party info (even if it’s a friend giving it) you’re better off, in my opinion, leaving it off your page. And really, if the model has moved out of your area… I just don’t see a point. Photographers in her new area likely aren’t looking at people she doesn’t have credited on photos or listed as worked with, so the chances of the new area seeing it are slim to none.

    In the case of “never worked with, but blacklisted because she hurt my friend”, it seems vindictive because you directly weren’t hurt. Sure, a friend was, but we’re all adults and we can all fight our own fights. Stepping in to shame her across any medium you can just comes across as “out to get her” and rather childish. Was it a serious accusation? Yes. But I’m sure your friend doesn’t want his named dragged out over hot coals every time her name comes up either. Because after awhile, he won’t be Photographer B, he’ll be “that photographer Model S accused of rape”. Not good for him, either.

    Now, if this were a model you worked with, and someone were to ask you about her, you have every right to honestly talk about your experience and then say “but you might also want to talk to Photographer B, as he had a very bad experience with her in 2008” or whatever. I have, on numerous occasions, directed others asking me if I’ve heard of or worked with certain photographers/models/MUAs towards those I know had bad experiences if I personally did not. And in some cases, those are people I never worked with, but got wind of bad things either because of checking references or in conversations at networking events. But I never would consider publicly listing those I’d never worked with, regardless of what they had done to friends or people I knew (and we’re talking everything from “minor” stuff like not delivering images or giving post-dated checks, “bad” stuff like calling a model a fat cow or slapping a model on the ass, to “horribly inexcusable” stuff that includes masturbating during a shoot or orally stimulating a nipple during a shoot). Unless a photographer has a public record of doing horribly inexcusable stuff (like the case of Al Carter, which I blogged about), it’s not my place to broadcast things that I have heard happened. I wasn’t there, and don’t know the details, so all I can do is direct (with permission) people to the source of the information I have, and let them digest what they are told.

    Really, in the end, you do what you want and what you feel is right. If you think you need to out this model on your profile, Facebook, website, whatever, then do it. Hell, if you want to wear a sandwich board with her name, her picture, and “THIS BITCH ACCUSES PHOTOGRAPHERS OF RAPE” plastered all over it to networking events for the next 5 years, have at it. I’m just telling you what I think when it comes to blacklists.

  10. Rachel, very well said. Just some info, I personally would never take up slack for a model that did not effect me. I personally knew this model and I asked her why, she replied, girls gotta do what a girls gotta do . Okay! In the end I don’t blacklist models but I do add them to my own personal list and if a colleague ask me if I know of such and would I ever work with her again, my response would be, NO! And that’s it, I personally would not care to explain what went wrong only if she did something as she did to the above mentioned photography.

    I believe in moving on and models come a dime a dozen so do photographers and Inlove to work with those that enjoy my craft and enjoyable to work with.