Victoria’s Secret ‘sorry’ for transgender model comments

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Victoria's Secret 'sorry' for transgender model comments

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Victoria's Secret has been grappling with falling sales since 2016

Victoria's Secret chief marketing officer has apologised for comments he made about transgender models.

In an interview with Vogue magazine, Ed Razek had said the lingerie company's annual shows were "a fantasy" and should not include them. Mr Razek later said his remarks were "insensitive".

The 2018 show took place on 8 November in New York, featuring models Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner.

Victoria's Secret has been grappling with falling sales since 2016.

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Media captionVictoria's Secret in China: Lingerie and controversy

Gender 'plays no part'

In a wide-ranging interview published on Thursday, Mr Razek and the company's executive vice-president of public relations, Monica Mitro, were asked whether the brand was putting more emphasis on diversity.

Mr Razek, who is part of the casting team, admitted that he had "considered" putting transgender and plus-sized models in the show, but had not as the company "did not market to the whole world".

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Mr Razek went on to say: "Does the brand think about diversity? Yes. Do we offer larger sizes? Yes… Shouldn't you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don't think we should."

"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," he said.

Skip Twitter post by @lingerie_addict

An 80 year old man owns the company and a 70 year old man runs it. And their archaic perspectives – on women, on gender, on plus size folks, on trans folks – are making VS a worse brand by the day.

— Cora Harrington (@lingerie_addict) November 9, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @lingerie_addict

Following a backlash on social media, Victoria's Secret released a statement from Mr Razek on Twitter, which read:

"To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model in our show. We've had transgender models come to castings… And like many others, they didn't make it."

Skip Twitter post by @VictoriasSecret

Please read this important message from Ed Razek, Chief Marketing Officer, L Brands (parent company of Victoria’s Secret). pic.twitter.com/CW8BztmOaM

— Victoria's Secret (@VictoriasSecret) November 10, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @VictoriasSecret

"It was never about gender," he added.

Others defended Mr Razek's comments, arguing shoppers did not have to buy the product if they did not agree with the company's ethos.

Skip Twitter post by @The_AmusingMuse

A) He's not wrong – they sell a fantasy.
B) If you don't LIKE that fantasy, don't buy their product.
It's not that difficult, folks.
?? “Victoria's Secret CMO says sorry for comments about transgender inclusion”https://t.co/DNkwskp5Ca

— The Muse (@The_AmusingMuse) November 10, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @The_AmusingMuse

Victoria's Secret operates in 80 countries worldwide, and opened two flagship stories in China in 2017.

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