Following an explosive new report by The New York Times detailing a culture of misogyny and harassment at the executive level of Victoria's Secret, over 100 models and industry supporters, including Christy Turlington, Edie Campbell, and Amber Valletta, have signed an open letter to the lingerie brand's CEO, asking him to take action.
According to The Times, Ed Razek, one of the top execs at L Brands, Victoria's Secret's parent company (founded by billionaire and close friend of Jeffrey Epstein, Les Wexner) had been the subject of complaints about inappropriate conduct, from asking models to sit on his lap, to making them kiss him, to touching someone's crotch ahead of the 2018 fashion show.
Higher-ups have also been accused of pressuring models to pose nude (often without pay) to help promote the work of one of the brand's photographers. Wexner, the CEO of L Brands, was also heard demeaning women.
"This abuse was just laughed off and accepted as normal. It was almost like brainwashing. And anyone who tried to do anything about it wasn’t just ignored. They were punished," Casey Crowe Taylor, a former PR employee at Victoria's Secret, told reporters.
In response, the Model Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for the protection of models, penned an open letter to recently-appointed CEO, John Mehas, urging him to end the abusive conditions and enroll the company in The RESPECT Program, the Alliance's workplace accountability program made for and by models. The Alliance had previously approached Victoria's Secret, as revealed in the letter, but was met with noncommittal comments.
"The Model Alliance believes in safety, freedom to work without fear of harassment, and real consequences for abusers. Victoria's Secret's failure to create an environment of accountability, both in-house and in their interactions with a network of agencies and creatives, undermines these values," the letter reads. "We envision an industry in which creative expression flourishes and everyone can work without fear of harassment or abuse."
With societal backlash already taking its toll on the company, leading it to cancel its annual fashion show, one thing's for sure: things need to change at Victoria's Secret if it hopes to survive.
View this post on InstagramHow many more victims of abuse does @victoriassecret need to hear from in order to finally take action? We stand with over 100 models, industry supporters, and @timesupnow to urge #victoriassecret to join the RESPECT Program. It’s #Time4RESPECT. Join our fight (LINK IN BIO).
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