Model Alliance demands Victoria’s Secret addresses ‘culture of misogyny’

Members of the Model Alliance have demanded Victoria’s Secret bosses overhaul the entire company following allegations of misogyny.In an expose published in The New York Times over the weekend, models and employees accused former chief marketing office…

Members of the Model Alliance have demanded Victoria’s Secret bosses overhaul the entire company following allegations of misogyny.

In an expose published in The New York Times over the weekend, models and employees accused former chief marketing officer Ed Razek of inappropriate conduct during his 36-year stint at the U.S. lingerie label, with claims relating to harassment and bullying. The 71-year-old has denied all allegations.

In light of The New York Times report, members of the Model Alliance, a non-profit organisation that advocates for the protection of those working in the fashion industry, have sent an open letter to John Mehas, chief executive officer of Victoria’s Secret, calling for him to “take concrete action” in order to change a “culture of misogyny and abuse”.

“We believe that this moment can be a wake-up call for Victoria’s Secret. This is an opportunity to take meaningful steps towards ending these abuses by joining the RESPECT Program, as models have called for since December 2018. The RESPECT Program – a program of the Model Alliance – is the only existing accountability program designed by and for models,” the letter reads. “Models have access to an independent, confidential complaint mechanism, with swift and fair resolution of complaints and appropriate consequences for abusers. Further, RESPECT includes a robust training program aimed toward prevention, to ensure that everyone understands their rights and responsibilities.”

In addition, the letter claims officials at the Model Alliance met with leaders at Victoria’s Secret and its parent company L Brands, including chief communications officer Tammy Roberts Myers, five months ago. But in a follow-up email, Myers allegedly commented that “Victoria’s Secret was not ready to take any concrete steps towards addressing these allegations” and that the company is simply, “In the process of continued learning and listening.”

“The time for listening is long past; it’s time for Victoria’s Secret to take action to protect the people they profit from. Human rights violations can’t be stopped with a corporate rebranding exercise,” the letter concluded.

The document was signed by models including Amber Valletta, Christy Turlington, Robyn Lawley, and Karen Elson, as well as photography duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.

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Doutzen Kroes and Christy Turlington petition Victoria’s Secret over misconduct

Doutzen Kroes and Christy Turlington are among 100 models who have signed a petition urging bosses at Victoria’s Secret to protect them from sexual misconduct.The longtime Victoria’s Secret Angel, along with the ’90s supermodel, have joined the likes o…

Doutzen Kroes and Christy Turlington are among 100 models who have signed a petition urging bosses at Victoria’s Secret to protect them from sexual misconduct.

The longtime Victoria’s Secret Angel, along with the ’90s supermodel, have joined the likes of Edie Campbell, Gemma Ward, Iskra Lawrence, Karen Elson, and Milla Jovovich in adding their names to a letter sent to chief executive officer John Mehas on Tuesday.

Non-profit organisation Model Alliance posted a copy of the letter on Twitter, with the text reading, “In the past few weeks, we have heard numerous allegations of sexual assault, alleged rape, and sex trafficking of models and aspiring models.

“While these allegations may not have been aimed at Victoria’s Secret directly, it is clear that your company has a crucial role to play in remedying the situation.”

Of late, the lingerie label has been rocked by allegations of sexual misconduct by photographers Timur Emek, David Bellemere, and Greg Kadel. Emek has not yet responded to the claims, while Bellemere and Kadel have denied the allegations.

“It is deeply disturbing that these men appear to have leveraged their working relationships with Victoria’s Secret to lure and abuse vulnerable girls,” the letter continued.

The petition from Model Alliance is also signed by a member of the Hollywood-led initiative Time’s Up, photographers Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, and former Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive. Additionally, it asks Victoria’s Secret to sign on to its Respect programme, which was designed by models and aims to support those who need to report complaints about individuals in the industry, as well as provide education and training.

News of the letter comes shortly after Ed Razek, Victoria’s Secret’s chief marketing officer, resigned from his position. He joined the company in 1983.

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Karen Elson signed new petition to protect models from ‘egregious behaviour’

Karen Elson signed a petition calling on Victoria’s Secret to protect models to put a stop to “egregious behaviour” in the fashion industry.On Tuesday, the 40-year-old was one of 100 women, including Doutzen Kroes and Christy Turlington, who signed a p…

Karen Elson signed a petition calling on Victoria’s Secret to protect models to put a stop to “egregious behaviour” in the fashion industry.

On Tuesday, the 40-year-old was one of 100 women, including Doutzen Kroes and Christy Turlington, who signed a petition urging bosses at lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret to protect them from sexual misconduct.

Non-profit organisation Model Alliance posted a copy of the letter – which was also supported by Iskra Lawrence and Milla Jovovich – on Twitter and demanded chief executive officer John Mehas implements change after numerous allegations of sexual assault, alleged rape, and sex trafficking in the fashion industry began surfacing in recent weeks.

The British model, who sits on Model Alliance’s Board of Directors, shared the open letter on Instagram and explained why she signed it.

“For far too long the fashion industry has turned a blind eye to egregious behavior (sic) that has put models and all those on set at risk. Finally solutions are being created by organizations like The Model Alliance with its RESPECT Program that can help us combat these pressing issues and create a safer and more accountable industry for all,” Elson wrote.

She went on to thank Model Alliance founder Sara Ziff and the Time’s Up movement for signing the petition.

“I hope this is the first step towards bigger leaps in the industry. Feel free to share and support!” Elson told her followers as she concluded her post.

In recent weeks, Victoria’s Secret has been rocked by claims of sexual misconduct by photographers Timur Emek, David Bellemere, and Greg Kadel. The latter two have denied the allegations.

Victoria’s Secret Angel Shanina Shaik also claimed that the annual fashion show has been cancelled this year, although her comments are yet to be confirmed or denied.

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Karen Elson calls for ‘meaningful’ change at Victoria’s Secret

Karen Elson has called on Victoria’s Secret bosses to make “meaningful changes”.The British supermodel, who previously worked for the U.S. lingerie giant in the early 2000s, has been an advocate of models’ rights in recent years. Following the Victoria…

Karen Elson has called on Victoria’s Secret bosses to make “meaningful changes”.

The British supermodel, who previously worked for the U.S. lingerie giant in the early 2000s, has been an advocate of models’ rights in recent years.

Following the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in New York on 8 November (18), chief marketing officer Ed Razek was blasted by critics for controversial comments he made about transgender and plus-size stars, with Elson now begging leaders at the brand to embrace inclusivity.

“It’s time to get real, get woke and start this conversation so meaningful changes can happen for the better,” she wrote on her social media pages on Sunday (11Nov18) alongside a post from organisers at Model Alliance expressing “disappointment” over Razek’s comments. “Every VS show I hear stories of models doing excruciating workouts and restrictive diets to look ‘perfect’ for the show. These women are already genetically blessed and drop dead gorgeous, I can’t fault them as it’s vulnerable to be in your underwear for a live TV event, it’s easy for me to preach but I understand the position these women are in.”

Elson went on to emphasise that she has many friends who work for Victoria’s Secret and did not intend to “take away” from their jobs or success.

However, she did note that it’s time to have discussions about why it is vital to present various body types, skin colours, ethnic backgrounds and genders on the runway.

“I want to see women in their natural state whatever that may be, not one that’s been tortured in the name of beauty, because real beauty shouldn’t be detrimental to women’s mental health and wellbeing. I urge those at VS to lean into what’s being said and make the change. You can do this and trust me it will be applauded,” the 39-year-old concluded.

In the original interview with Vogue magazine, Razek explained that he had considered casting transgender and plus-sized models in the latest show but didn’t because the company “did not market to the whole world”.

He later issued an apology on social media, apologising for coming across as “insensitive”.

“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,” he said.

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Karen Elson and Doutzen Kroes back plan to stop abuse in fashion

Karen Elson and Doutzen Kroes are backing a “Respect Programme” to stop abuse in the fashion industry.The supermodels are among 100 stars who have signed the Model Alliance’s Respect charter, which is asking brands, agencies and media companies to sign…

Karen Elson and Doutzen Kroes are backing a “Respect Programme” to stop abuse in the fashion industry.

The supermodels are among 100 stars who have signed the Model Alliance’s Respect charter, which is asking brands, agencies and media companies to sign a legally binding agreement to foster a business defined by safe workplaces and mutual respect, in the wake of several high-profile photographers, including Mario Testino, Bruce Weber and Terry Richardson, coming under fire for allegedly mistreating models.

Throwing her weight behind the initiative, Karen has taken to Instagram to share a statement in which she described the importance of bringing about change in the fashion community.

“Over the past year, many courageous individuals have revealed the dark truth of sexual harassment and bullying behaviour in the fashion industry,” she wrote. “A lot of these concerns have yet to be addressed in a meaningful way. Today, myself along with over 100 other models, are supporting the solution: the RESPECT Programme.”

Doutzen uploaded a statement with a similar sentiment, while Model Alliance representatives shared the entire list of models who are supporting the charter, including Teddy Quinlivan, Milla Jovovich, Caitriona Balfe and Elettra Wiedemann.

Model Alliance founder Sara Ziff announced the Respect Programme at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit on Thursday (17May18) alongside model Edie Campbell, casting director James Scully and Kering’s chief sustainability officer Marie-Claire Daveu.

“As models, our images serve a commercial purpose, but our bodies remain ours,” the initiative states. “Agreeing to be photographed or filmed as professional representatives of a product or brand does not constitute agreement to be groped, fondled, involuntarily disrobed or worse.”

The Respect Programme also offers models access to a confidential complaint process.

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