WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A letter penned by the nonprofit The Model Alliance and signed by over 100 models was sent to Victoria’s Secret CEO John Mehas on Wednesday urging for him to take action to end sexual abuse within the company.
- The letter comes in the heels of a New York Times report that exposed details of a culture where misogyny and harassment exist allegedly encouraged by top executives of L Brands, Victoria’s Secret parent company.
- The letter hopes to serve as a wake-up call to the lingerie company and to take meaningful steps to end these abuses.
More than 100 models banded together and signed an open letter addressed to Victoria’s Secret CEO John Mehas pushing for him to act and end sexual abuse and misconduct at the lingerie company.
Drafted by The Model Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for people in the fashion industry, the letter also calls for Victoria’s Secret to join the RESPECT Program of the nonprofit which commits to upholding a code of conduct to ensure safety in the workplace.
The news comes after a recently published report by the New York Times disclosed details regarding allegations against Ed Razek and Les Wexner, two top executives at the lingerie brand’s parent company, L Brands, for fostering a “culture of misogyny, bullying, and harassment” at Victoria’s Secret. Sources also revealed to the Times that Razek would tell women to sit on his lap and kiss him.
“We believe that this moment can be a wake-up call for Victoria’s Secret,” the letter said citing the Times’ report as the impetus for its drafting.
In a statement to Business Insider, longtime model and executive director of the Model Alliance Zara Ziff said the nonprofit had been discussing the harassment issues with L Brands for several months.
“It is both frustrating and deeply disturbing that Victoria’s Secret/L Brands still have not taken models’ concerns about their safety at work seriously,” Ziff revealed.
An L Brands spokesperson wrote in a statement to Business Insider: “We absolutely share a common goal with Model Alliance to ensure the safety and wellbeing of models. We’re proud of the progress we’ve made and remain committed to continuous improvement. We’re always open to engage with those looking to make improvements in the industry.”
Razek reportedly resigned in October 2019 while Wexner is currently planning to sell Victoria’s Secret and step down as CEO.