Tyler Shields Irons Out His Heather Morris Abuse ControversyTuesday, October 11, 2011
Photographer and provocateur Tyler Shields took heat last month for a series of pictures starring perky blond Heather Morris of "Glee," in which she danced about and posed for Shields while sporting a black eye.
Both photog and subject agreed on "busted Barbie" as a shoot concept, but larger fan reaction was definitely not in agreement when it came to artistic value: Shields fielded thousands of electronic and hand-written messages that he categorized as "death threats."
"It was 25,000, maybe more," he told the Ministry, "of the most violent, insane things."
But Shields wasn't about to be bullied. In support of "Well Hung," his upcoming exhibit with Maximilian Wiedemann at London's Imitate Modern gallery, Shields shared with us an exclusive image from his Morris series, above, in which she gives him some searing-hot abuse right back.
"This wasn't glorifying domestic violence," he said. "I didn't sit down and say, 'It would be awesome to punch the girl from "Glee" in the face.' She's clearly in makeup and doing Barbie gone nuts."
And then there's the issue of the correspondence. Rather than ignore his death threats, Shields took the most upsetting authors to task.
"One e-mail was from a 16-year-old kid that had an opening line so horrible ... it was racist, went after the gays, called me terrible things, so I tracked him down. I got his phone number, somewhere in Maryland, and called him up."
The minor's mother answered the phone, and Shields proceeded to read her the son's note.
"She was screaming, she was so upset," Shields said.
Similarly, the office manager of a California physician's office sent a declaration that he and a gang of females were going to beat Tyler's brains in with baseball bats. Shields called the good doctor to let hm know about his employee.