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Victoria’s Secret CEO Resigns Amid Model Controversy

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2018 Finale

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2018; Image: J. Lee/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Since the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was staged last week, the company has been faced with numerous confrontations and comments regarding the show’s lack of plus size and transgender models. As the fashion industry increasingly promotes a more diverse beauty standard, Victoria’s Secret has resisted change.

In an interview with Vogue last week, Ed Razek, Chief Marketing Officer of Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands, was asked if the brand should cater to shifting needs and desires in the marketplace. Razek has since received a lot of backlash for this response: “It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.”

Just a day after the interview was posted, Victoria’s Secret released a statement on Twitter apologizing for the comment. The tweet was from Razek and it stated, “My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive. I apologize. To be clear, we absolutely would cast a trangender model for the show. We’ve had transgender models come to castings… And like many others, they didn’t make it… But it was never about gender. I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are.”

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We are disappointed by the recent comments about trans and plus-size models made by Ed Razek, CMO of L Brands, Victoria's Secret's parent company. Such comments create a hostile work environment for people who do not conform to Victoria’s Secret’s mold – one that enforces an idea of female beauty that is predominantly white, cisgender, young and thin. In addition to the brand’s issues with lack of diversity and inclusion, Victoria’s Secret photographers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct by models, which have yet to be adequately addressed. If Victoria’s Secret is truly a leader, it will join the RESPECT Program so that models and their colleagues can work in a respectful, accountable and inclusive environment. The RESPECT Code requires that all be treated with dignity and respect on the job, regardless of race, size, or gender identity. This is not the “PC” thing to do – this is best business practice. When any part of our industry is excluded or oppressed, abuse is able to flourish and hurts us all. We can and need to do better. #Time4RESPECT #VictoriasSecret

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Razek’s comments were met with calls to boycott Victoria’s Secret for its lack of diversity and inclusion. Even Angel Kendall Jenner shaded the brand by posting an IG story of a pin that said, “Celebrate Trans Women.”

In the wake of the controversy and slumping sales, Victoria’s Secret CEO Jan Singer has resigned. No further statement was released.

[ Next: What Happened to Victoria’s Secret? ]