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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