Victoria’s Secret is being accused of “normalizing discrimination” for their lack of transgender and plus-size models on their runways.
“Victoria’s Secret Doesn’t Want Plus-Size or Trans Women Walking the Runway,” a Jezebel headline screamed on Friday.
“Since the brand’s first runway show at the Plaza Hotel in New York City in August 1995, not a single plus-size or out transgender or gender nonconforming person has walked in the show’s 23-year history,” complained Mic.com on Monday, adding, “Victoria’s Secret discriminates against plus-size, transgender and gender nonconforming people.”
The outrage over the lack of fat and transgender representation in Victoria’s Secret lingerie was sparked by comments made by Ed Razek, L. Brands’ chief marketing officer, to Vogue. L. Brand is the parent company of Victoria’s Secret.
Speaking of diversity, Razek told Vogue, “I think we address the way the market is shifting on a constant basis. 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.”
Razek explained that the answer to plus-size inclusion comes with their sister division, Lane Bryant. “We invented the plus-size model show in what was our sister division, Lane Bryant. Lane Bryant still sells plus-size lingerie, but it sells a specific range, just like every specialty retailer in the world sells a range of clothing. As do we,” he said.
Striking a nerve with the social justice left, Razek went on to admit that there is little interest in a plus-size runway from consumers. “We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world. We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t,” said the executive.
The politically incorrect speech continued from Razek: “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. That’s what it is.”
After an immediate explosion of backlash hit social media, Razek issued an apology addressing the remarks via Victoria’s Secret’s Twitter account.
“My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive. I apologize. To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show. 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,” the statement reads.
As you might imagine, this was not enough to quiet the backlash:
In an apparent rebuke of Razek, former and present Victoria’s Secret models, such as Karlie Kloss, Lily Aldridge, and Kendall Jenner, posted messages to social media affirming their support for transgender individuals.