A top exec from Victoria’s Secret is walking back some controversial comments he made about why the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has never invited any transgender or plus-sized models to the runway.
In an interview with Vogue, chief marketing officer Ed Razek of the lingerie manufacturer’s L Brands explained that VS has thought about adding more diversity to its annual fashion show — but decided not to.
“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,” said Razek.
“Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should,” he added, framing his responses as a hypothetical conversation with himself.
“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,” he continued.
He was also blunt in explaining why there are no plus-sized models at the VS Fashion Show. “We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000],” he said. “No one had any interest in it, still don’t.”
A social media backlash ensued, with numerous people taking Razek, 70, to task for his “archaic” comments.
As the backlash intensified, Razek issued an apology, admitting his remarks about excluding transgender and plus-sized models from the VS Fashion show “came across as insensitive.”
He then did a complete 180: “To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show,” he added, implying that any trans models who attended casting calls in the past simply didn’t have what it takes to be a VS Angel, insisting “it was never about gender.”