A new report has revealed a culture of bullying and harassment at Victoria’s Secret
A NYT investigation has brought the widespread misogyny targeted at models and employees within the company to light.
For many years, Victoria’s Secret defined ‘sexy’ for millions of women across the globe. Sales soared, its annual show was reaching an almost cult-like status, and landing a spot as an ‘Angel’ pretty much paved the way for a fruitful modelling career. However, lately the company has found itself in dire straits, with a damning report published by The New York Times the latest in a series of blows.
According to interviews with more than 30 current and former executives, employees, contractors and models, within the company “two powerful men presided over an entrenched culture of misogyny, bullying and harassment”. The two men it refers to are Ed Razek -- for decades one of the top executives at Victoria’s Secret’s parent company L Brands -- and Leslie Wexner, the company’s billionaire founder and chief executive.
The allegations are severe, with Razek being accused of inappropriate conduct including kissing and crotch-touching, and Wexner deemed an enabler of his deputy’s behaviour after not acting on complaints and even cutting ties with the models who filed them in the first place. Additionally, Wexner is being accused of misogynistic behaviour, demeaning women and “laughing off” abuse.
The report paints a grim picture of the company, which has already been under fire since 2019, when Mr. Wexner’s ties to the sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein became public. It reveals a toxic corporate culture in which women’s fear of retaliation had silenced them for decades.
Having already suffered a massive decline in sales over the last couple of years, and a steep drop in popularity -- with shoppers deeming the brand being ‘forced’, ‘fake’ and out of touch with changing beauty norms -- the report seems to mark the end of the underwear giant.