Victoria’s Secret models called out the company in a letter to CEO John Mehas following an expose alleging its “culture of misogyny” and “harassment.”
“We write today because The New York Times investigative report ‘Angels in Hell: The Culture of Misogyny Inside Victoria’s Secret’ shows that the culture of misogyny, bullying, and harassment at Victoria’s Secret is even more egregious and more entrenched than previously understood,” the letter from The Model Alliance read. It was noted by Fox News in a piece published Thursday. (RELATED: Take A Look Back At Adriana Lima’s Career With Victoria’s Secret)
“The Times reports repeated complaints of inappropriate conduct towards models and employees: body shaming, lewd remarks, crotch-grabbing, retaliation for rebuffing advances, unauthorized use of models’ images and pressures to pose nude without pay for a photographer’s personal shoots,” it added of the letter highlighting allegations against the former CEO of the lingerie’s parent company, L. Brands, Ed Razek in the Times expose. Razek stepped down August 2019, per Page Six.
The letter continued, “When the Model Alliance met with Tammy Roberts Myers, Chief Communications Officer of L Brands in New York City last September, it was made abundantly clear that Victoria’s Secret does not take these complaints seriously. In a follow-up email she told us that Victoria’s Secret was not ready to take any concrete steps towards addressing these allegations – rather, the company is simply, ‘in the process of continued learning and listening.'” (RELATED: Celebrate Kate Upton’s Birthday With These Unforgettable Shots [SLIDESHOW])
The document, signed by supermodels like Christy Turlington Burns, Amber Valletta and Iskra Lawrence and more than 100 others, went on to state that “this response is utterly unacceptable. The time for listening is long past; it’s time for Victoria’s Secret to take action to protect the people they profit from.”
“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 women wrote.
The letter went on to encourage Victorias’s Secret to join RESPECT-a program of the Model Alliance—which “is the only existing accountability program designed by and for models.”
The lingerie’s parent company, L Brands has since responded to the letter stating that, “We absolutely share a common goal with Model Alliance to ensure the safety and wellbeing of models. Our robust Photo Shoot Procedures, including training and oversight, were implemented in May 2019 and reflect elements of the RESPECT Program and beyond. 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,” per People magazine.
Razek also has denied the allegations to the Times stating that they were “categorically untrue, misconstrued or taken out of context.”