Victoria's Secret Exec Backpedals On His Anti-Trans Comments
"It was never about gender. I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are," Ed Razek said.
Victoria's Secret has always claimed it promotes diversity and inclusivity — after all, the lingerie brand ensures models of ranging ethnicities walk in its iconic annual fashion show. Unfortunately, chief marketing officer Ed Razek's gross comments on plus-size and trans models suggest otherwise.
Following the backlash against his anti-trans and anti-plus size comments, Razek took to Twitter to apologize for the offensive remarks.
"My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive. I apologize," he wrote. "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. It was never about gender. I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are."
This year, Victoria's Secret's diversification effort came in the form of the first model with Vitiligo, Winnie Harlow, and the first Filipino model, Kelsey Merritt — but models from many other marginalized groups still have not received their wings.
Ahead of the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, Razek and Victoria's Secret executive vice president of public relation,s Monica Mitro, sat down with Vogue to discuss the company's refusal to include plus-size women and transgender models in its televised lingerie extravaganza.
"Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show?" he said, opting for a term that's severely outdated. "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. It is the only one of its kind in the world, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us. And they carp at us because we’re the leader... We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t."
Back in 2000, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show had no network deals. The show was streamed via webcast and was deemed unsuccessful due to technical problems. The site's server was unable to accommodate millions of viewers trying to access the stream. If this was the case, how can he claim that there was no interest in it? The sizable audience couldn't watch the show due to technical hindrances and this should not be equated to a lack of interest.
Razek went on to explain that Victoria's Secret isn't a brand that markets to plus-size women.
"I think we address the way the market is shifting on a constant basis. If you’re asking if we’ve considered putting a transgender model in the show or looked at putting a plus-size model in the show, we have," he said. "We invented the plus-size model show in what was our sister division, Lane Bryant. Lane Bryant still sells plus-size lingerie, but it sells a specific range, just like every specialty retailer in the world sells a range of clothing. As do we. We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world."
Following this logic, Victoria's Secret must only cater to women who are size two and below, unrealistically slender, and I don't know, blonde? Mind you, the average size of American women is 14 — a size which falls under the plus-size range. The brand must not care for profitability if it strives to alienate women outside of the minority.
No wonder Victoria's Secret is on the verge of going bankrupt.