Victoria’s Secret exec apologizes for remarks about transgender models

November 10, 2018

Victoria’s Secret is reeling from an executive’s explanation for excluding transgender models from the lingerie company’s annual fashion show.

Ed Razek, chief marketing office of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands, issued a public apology Friday evening amid facing criticism as a result of comments he made about trans models during a recent interview with Vogue magazine.

″‘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,” Mr. Razek said in the interview published Thursday.

“I don’t think we can be all things to all customers. It is a specialty business; it isn’t a department store,” he said during the interview.

Mr. Razek’s comments quickly caused an uproar on social media that culminated Friday’s apology.

“My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive. I apologize,” he said in a statement.

“To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model in our 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,” said Mr. Razek.

Prior to walking back his comments Friday, Mr. Razek came under fire from industry experts and trans models alike over his initial remarks.

“An 80 year old man owns the company and a 70 year old man runs it,” Cora Harrington, author and founder of the Lingerie Addict blog, said on Twitter with respect to Victoria’s Secret. “And their archaic perspectives - on women, on gender, on plus size folks, on trans folks - are making VS a worse brand by the day.”

“I, as a transsexual woman and model have a @VictoriasSecret credit card and over 30 pair of panties from them. Sad that I can no longer support the brand since these undergarments were not created for my kind of woman from my understanding,” verified Twitter user Isis King tweeted to the company. “I don’t fit the ‘fantasy’. Cool.”

Forty-five transgender models were featured during major and semi-major fashion shows this past season, according to Refinery 29, a female-focused website that recently analyzed 266 fashion shows and 8,258 runway appearances in four cities.

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