Victoria’s Secret is a world of misogyny, bullying and sexual harassment a New York Times special investigation finds.
The Times interviewed 30 current and former executives, employees, contractors and also models for the expose.
Victoria’s Secret executive tried to touch and kiss models
Ed Razek, a top executive at L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, faced repeated complaints about inappropriate conduct.
For example, he allegedly touched the crotch of a model before the 2018 Victoria’s Secret fashion show.
In addition to trying to kiss others or asking them to sit on his lap during photo shoots and car rides.
Photographer asks models to pose nude
Furthermore, women report being pressured to pose nude for prominent Victoria’s Secret photographer, Russell James.
He later used the pictures in an expensive coffee table book without paying the models.
Sources tell the Times they reported Razek’s behaviour to billionaire founder and chief executive of L Brands, Leslie Wexner, but nothing was done.
Additionally, others claim the company punished them for speaking out.
Model, Andi Muise, tells the Times that Victoria’s Secret stopped hiring her for its fashion shows after she rebuffed Razek’s advances.
“I can make you or break you’
The Times says Razek came up with the Victoria’s Secret annual fashion show, which became a global cultural phenomenon.
Furthermore, the newspaper describes Razek as “instrumental” in selecting the brand’s supermodels — known as “Angels”.
For models, landing a spot as an “Angel” virtually guaranteed international stardom.
Razek often reminded models their careers were in his hands, according to models and staff who heard his remarks.
Alyssa Miller, an occasional Victoria’s Secret model, described Razek as someone who exuded “toxic masculinity.”
She summed up his attitude as: “I am the holder of the power. I can make you or break you.”
At castings, Razek sometimes asked models in their bras and underwear for their phone numbers, according to three people who witnessed his advances.
He urged others to sit on his lap.
Two models said he asked them to have private dinners with him.
In contrast, Wexner stayed quiet, however, his ties to sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein revealed last year, caused trouble for the brand.
Allegations are ‘categorically untrue’
Razek responded to the Times allegations with an email:
“The accusations in this reporting are categorically untrue, misconstrued or taken out of context. I’ve been fortunate to work with countless, world-class models and gifted professionals and take great pride in the mutual respect we have for each other.”
He declined to comment on a detailed list of allegations.
Thomas Davies, a spokesman for Wexner, declined to comment.