A new pupil asked me this question.
The short answer is no. Many fine guitarists do very well without reading music.
There are options to learn without reading standard notation: good observation, good listening, chord windows and good old guitar tabs. There are also plenty free videos out there on web-sites which help people learn without the need to read music. Do I make use of all of the above -of course of I do!
Can I read music -yes! Do I insist other people learn to read music -no!
Do I recommend other people learn to read music -yes!
My own experience of playing the guitar and music generally was transformed when I learned how to read standard notation combined with a bit of music theory. It was as though everything became quicker to learn and the musical universe expanded for me.
(If you want to play classical guitar you will struggle if you can’t read standard notation, and this is one aspect of my own teaching where I insist students do learn to read music.)
My only regret is that I waited until I was into middle age before I stopped avoiding the issue and got on with it.
Did I find it easy? Some of it was very easy, but I have to admit I found some parts of it a little confusing at first and was glad I had someone to go to who helped me make sense of it all.
So that’s were I stand on reading music, but I stress this is based purely on my own experience.