Amongst The Angels And Wings At Victoria’s Secret, Stories Of Sexual Predators Like Razek Emerge. It Is Disturbing
Somewhere, frozen in time, there is a 13-year-old version of myself that is sneaking out of her room to catch the re-run of ‘that fashion show with wings’. The brand Victoria’s Secret was a constant in my list of ‘aspirational buys’ that I’ll one day be able to afford as a grown-up. Apart from classics like a Chanel No. 5 perfume and a Gaultier tailored suit, a Victoria’s Secret bombshell bra was part of my bucket list for the longest time. The gorgeous women shaped the idea of beauty for the longest time, both fascinating me and making me sick to the stomach. I believed the facade of skinny models in ‘barely there’ lingerie sauntering down the catwalk to be ’empowering’, which in hindsight seems like a complete misjudgment. And the recent allegations against one of its executives has stained my memory of a picturesque Gisele Bündchen strutting it in golden wings!
The eponymous fashion show from the label has already been cancelled due to poor sales, a fall in the stock and multiple sexual misconduct allegations by models and employees. The label has also suffered because of their well-knows angels rejecting the brand and company; all of which brings us their ex-Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek’s recent exposé, a story that might just become the final undoing of the lingerie giant.
ALSO READ: You Heard It On Hauterfly First! The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Has Officially Been Cancelled.
Sara, Elsa, Stella, Martha and Ed Razek on set for VS today (via stellamaxwell on Instagram) pic.twitter.com/me3w6xpsAI
— Sara Sampaio News (@sarasampaiocom) November 7, 2017
According to a New York Times deep-dive investigation, 71-year-old is bang in the middle of allegations of bullying, assaulting and demeaning young models working for the brand. Casey Crowe Taylor, a former public relations employee at Victoria’s Secret said in her interview, “What was most alarming to me, as someone who was always raised as an independent woman, was just how ingrained this behaviour was. This abuse was just laughed off and accepted as normal. It was almost like brainwashing. And anyone who tried to do anything about it wasn’t just ignored. They were punished.” Razek was instrumental in conceptualising the fashion show and introducing the concept of the ‘wings’. It doesn’t seem so fabulous now that we have context.
Insider accounts claim that Razek often used his position to force models to do his bidding. Former VS model Alyssa Miller phrased his dealings as “I am the holder of the power. I can make you or break you”. He made it a point to sit and watch closely from a couch when supermodel Bella Hadid was being fitted for a 2018 show, commenting, “Forget the panties, [the real question is] whether the TV network would let Ms. Hadid walk down the runway with those perfect titties”. At the same fitting, he placed his hand on another model’s underwear-clad crotch.
Bella Hadid on Victoria's Secret Instagram. pic.twitter.com/2qyjuAQSH5
— Bella Hadid Daily (@BellaHadidDaily) November 20, 2017
The predatory behaviour of Razek went beyond just the high-profile models. At castings, he sometimes asked lingerie-clad young women for their phone numbers. He insisted that they sit on his lap and have private dinners with him. “I need someplace sexy to take you!”, he wrote in an email to former VS model Andi Muise, who claimed that pursued her with unwanted advances for months in 2007, before finally dropping her from the show. She was 19 at the time.
These shocking revelations have come out after the infamous Jeffrey Epstein suicide case, a former financer involved with L Brands (VS’s parent company). Epstein was in trial for sex trafficking, using VS auditions as a front to trap young women for years. An anonymous source revealed, “I had spent all of my savings getting Victoria’s Secret lingerie to prepare for what I thought would be my audition. But instead, it seemed like a casting call for prostitution. I felt like I was in hell.” Epstein killed himself before a verdict could be reached.
ALSO READ: Chilling Details About The Rape Of Jessica Mann Emerge In The Harvey Weinstein Trial And It Will Make Your Skin Crawl
Ed Razek still maintains his innocence in all of this and responded with an email stating, “The accusations in this reporting are categorically untrue, misconstrued or taken out of context. I’ve been fortunate to work with countless, world-class models and gifted professionals and take great pride in the mutual respect we have for each other.”
It baffles us that this man managed to stay in power for so many years, emotionally scarring young models who came to work for the brand. But we are glad that this issue came to light and are hopeful for a resolution about the same. Sexual predators need to held responsible for their actions, there’s no mercy!