Prominent photo editor Patrick Witty accused of sexual misconduct

Reading Time: 2 minutes

He’s a huge name in the industry, having worked at National Geographic, Time, Wired, and the New York Times (where he was part of a Pulitzer-winning team). But yesterday Patrick Witty was the subject of a long story published on, which alleged he was investigated by National Geographic for sexual misconduct last Autumn. The story went on to add that more than 20 people had come forward to to report experiencing, witnessing, or hearing corroboratory reports of his inappropriate behaviour.

“In November 2017, several women at National Geographic pressured the magazine’s human resources department to investigate Patrick Witty, then deputy director of photography, for allegedly abusing his power in the industry for years to get away with predatory sexual behavior toward female colleagues, freelance photographers, and peers in the field,” opened the story by AJ Chavar. “But human resources had already launched an investigation in mid-October, according to a source at National Geographic familiar with the internal review.”

Witty stopped working at National Geographic in December 2017, announcing his departure on social media such as Twitter and Instagram on 03 January and simply stating that he was “Excited for my next chapter”. Chavar went on to claim that National Geographic Partners CEO Declan Moore sent an internal email in response to his story, referencing “the termination of our Deputy Director of Photography, Patrick Witty”, and confirming that “our Human Resources team conducted a very thorough investigation as soon as issues were raised by women inside and outside of NPG regarding his behavior”.

The story also includes stories from women photographers describing Witty’s behaviour – including two who publicly went on the record, Andrea Wise and Emilie Richardson. To BJP‘s knowledge, Witty has not publicly responded to these allegations; BJP has contacted him for comment. The story can be read here

Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is a freelance journalist who contributes to publications such as The Guardian, The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, The Calvert Journal, Aperture, FOAM, IMA, Aesthetica and Apollo Magazine. Prior to going freelance, she wrote and edited at BJP for 15 years. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy