Rich Clark: Disney star Peyton Clark's dad accused of grooming teens, taking nude pics
Clients of the 52-year-old photographer claim he allegedly texted them explicit messages and in some cases, secretly sold their photos online
Warning: Article contains references to grooming and explicit content
Rich Clark, the father of Disney star Peyton Clark and influencer Acacia Kersey has been accused of pressuring teen girls into taking nude photos. The 52-year-old is also accused of allegedly selling the shots without their consent on mature or explicit Instagram accounts. Rich's son Peyton, 27, starred on the Disney Channel series 'I Didn’t Do It in 2014' and his daughter Acacia Kersey, 24, has millions of followers on social media after initially getting fame on Tumblr. Rich, on the other hand, is a photographer who runs a children’s modeling business.
Some of his former clients claimed in a report by Daily Beast that Rich allegedly ‘manipulated’ a number of his minor clients to take provocative photos and at times sold them online for $2.58. The father-of-four boasts 27 years of experience and still runs his business in Los Angeles. Apparently, his online portfolio has a number of photos where young girls are posing suggestively. One of the women who has brought these allegations against Rich is Brittni Kristine, Peyton's former girlfriend. While here it's the Disney star's dad who is in the news, here are some teen celebs who have recently made news including Sofia Cheung, Ca'Shawn 'Cookie' Sims, Marcella Zoia and Gabriel Salazar.
Kristine was the first to come forward about Rich as the now 26-year-old shared a brief version of her story on TikTok last week, explaining how the alleged grooming started.
Kristine, 26, is a cosmetician who dated Rich's son when she was a teenager in 2013. In a TikTok video, she shared a number of her text exchanges with Rich. In one exchange, he says, “I love 14-year-olds as you know." She replied, “You’re not supposed to admit that," to which Rich texted back, “No, I’m not supposed to act on it. I can think it and want it all I want.”
She described a road trip the three took, during which Rich offered to shoot some photos of her and Peyton. “We had kind of like some couple shots,” she told the Daily Beast. “[Clark] did kind of encourage more like romantic shots—I think mine and Peyton’s first kiss was on camera—I’m pretty sure it was directed, which was a little bit strange, but we all kind of bonded over the trip.”
That same trip, Rich asked Kristine if she would be comfortable posing nude for him. Initially, she resisted, citing the fact that she used to self-harm and didn’t want to show her scars. However, she said that Rich assured her by saying he wouldn’t judge her. He also claimed that he was asexual and hence will not be aroused by her stripping. “Obviously, now that I’m older and wiser, it’s a massive red flag. It shouldn’t have even been mentioned at all if he was professional. But at the time, it [made] me feel more comfortable in his presence," she told the Daily Beast. She also shared screenshots of messages that she says are from Clark, where he suggests that in order to ease her stress, Brittni needed “endless sex with an older man.”
Irene Kaia, now 23, also shared a video on YouTube, in which she shared her alleged experience with Rich when she was 15 and 16 years old. After her father died, she said that she moved to Los Angeles to start a career as an aspiring actress. At the time, she hired Rich to take her photos. After she grew close to him, she eventually told him about her father. She said that he ultimately used the information against her.
"He told me that he’d be my surrogate father and watch over me and just treat me like I was his daughter," she said. "So at the time I was 16, grieving over my dad, that meant a lot to me. So, therefore, I put my trust in him and everything he told me to do. The more we shot, the more he would ask for unprofessional poses and sexual poses … and every time I would question him, he would manipulate me, but I didn’t realize that at the time. He would say to trust him, to trust your surrogate father, in that he would never put me in harm’s way. So I did, so I trusted him."
She said, “He would start off with little things, and then gradually move toward more provocative images. He wouldn’t just be like, ‘Oh, do a pose,’ he would be like, ‘Lower your shirt a little, just above the nipple. Take your bra off. I can help you take your bra off.’ He would be very specific and detailed about what he wanted.”
Rich Clark goes dark
Kristine added in another video that she broke up with Peyton in 2014 after his father asked her to become his mistress despite being in a relationship with his son. Kristine then told the rest of Clark’s family about the messages between her and Rich. Melissa was reportedly "horrified" and kicked Rich out of the house. The two ended up getting a divorce later that year.
In addition to Kaia and Kristine, several other models who worked with Rich, have also spoken out on the condition of anonymity. They have recalled similar circumstances where Rich told them "sex sells," as he pushed them to take nude photos and texted them explicit messages. However, now both Kristine and Kaia have since come to learn that the suggestive photos Rich took ended up on mature Instagram accounts, Kaia says she has documentation that her explicit photos were being sold online for as little as $2.58 for a 4x6 print.
Rich has declined to comment con the allegations. In fact, just hours after The Daily Beast reached out to him, his Facebook page and website were deactivated.