Victoria's Secret Is Under Fire for Discriminating Comments and Celebs Are Not Having It
Victoria's Secret is in hot water once again after Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of L Brands (who owns Victoria's Secret) made a series of insensitive comments about transgender and plus-size models in an interview with Vogue.
The Victoria's Secret Fashion show has often been called out for its lack of inclusivity over the years. Responding to such comments in the recent interview, Razek said that using diverse models would undermine the "fantasy" aspect of the show. "Shouldn't you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don't think we should," he said. "Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It's a 42-minute entertainment special…. We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don't."
While social media users, in general, were quick to call out Victoria's Secret for the comments, celebrities too have stepped up and voiced their opinions. Plus-size model Tess Holliday, for instance, shared a photo of herself flaunting ASOS lingerie and declared that she'll stick to brands that stand for inclusivity. "Who needs VS anyway?!" she wrote alongside the photo. "They never supported plus ladies and now they are trying to dis my trans sisters? Hell nah. Kiss my fat ass." (No word yet from Ashley Graham, who has thrown some shade at Victoria's Secret in the past for lack of body diversity in the show.)
Rihanna, on the other hand, was more subtle and liked a picture that criticized Razek and praised Savage x Fenty for its diverse and inclusive runway show. The Instagram account, Rihannas.Likes, captured the post.
Transgender model Carmen Carrera also commented on the controversy and shared her opinions on Twitter. "The worst feeling in the world is knowing you have what it takes but are being denied simply for being who you are," she wrote. (Related: Regular Women Recreated the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and We're Obsessed)
Victoria's Secret has since responded to the backlash and published a statement from Razek on Friday. "To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show," the statement read. "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."
But a series of other celebs weren't happy with the apology. "Keep that same energy," trans activist Isis King wrote on Twitter. "He said what he said and how he said it. We get it. We aren't welcome."
Actress Alexandra Grey, on the other hand, said: "Chile that weak ass apology!!! Keep it!!! ... It's ridiculous in 2018 and with all that's going on in the world, your company would say something so heinous and discriminatory."
None of the models who walked this year have publicly commented, but former Angels Lily Aldridge and Karlie Kloss both posted the message, "Trans and [gender nonconforming] people are not a debate," on their Instagram stories, and Kendall Jenner, who made her reappearance on the runway last week, posted an Instagram story that read, "Celebrate trans women."
Over the past couple of years, the fashion industry has been making an effort to be more inclusive-and seeing how much positive press magazines, fashion brands, and cosmetic brands have received by using diverse models, it seems unlikely that Victoria's Secret would get negative backlash for expanding their audience. Yet time and time again, they've chosen to stand their ground. Who knows? Maybe this recent uproar will finally cause them to cast a wider net in next year's show.