Marketing boss quits Victoria’s Secret after first trans model hired

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Ed Razek, who apologised last year for transphobic remarks, leaves US lingerie brand

Ellie Violet Bramley – The Guardian

Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer at Victoria’s Secret, who last year claimed “transsexual” models should not be cast “because the show is a fantasy”, has resigned days after the lingerie brand hired its first openly transgender model.

Valentina Sampaio, a 22-year-old Brazilian, shared a picture of herself on Instagram on Saturday taking part in a shoot for the Pink line, which is targeted at younger customers. A follow-up post was captioned: “Never stop dreaming.” But the hiring of the transgender model has been criticised as a cynical move on the brand’s part.

The news that Razek is to retire, which came via a note from Leslie Wexner, the chair and chief executive of the brand’s parent company, L Brands, comes at a time when Victoria’s Secret has faced increasing criticism in the post-#MeToo and Time’s Up era.

Its brand of hypersexuality has been labelled regressive and its exclusive use of thin models has been lambasted for being dangerous and out of step with the current emphasis on body positivity. Its skimpy lingerie has also failed to chime with the penchant for athleisure-inspired bras and underwear that puts comfort first.

Razek, 71, made his comments in an interview with Vogue last year in which he also claimed plus-size models did not fit the Victoria’s Secret mould and audiences had “no interest” in seeing them. He later apologised for his “insensitive” remarks.

Viewing figures for the brand’s 2018 fashion show, which was overshadowed by the backlash over Razek’s comments, slumped to an all-time low and have been matched by declining sales and store closures.

Last week it was reported that 2019’s catwalk show would be cancelled. Victoria’s Secret declined to comment.

 

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