VS exec apologizes for saying 'no one had any interest' in a show with plus

Performers and models on the runway at the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on November 8, 2018. With over 800 million tune in annually) with around 12 million USD spent on putting the spectacle together according to Harper’s Bazaar. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP)

The annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show made its return on Friday, and the feather and underwire extravaganza was as decadent as ever. And while rising supermodels like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner strutted the stage like pros, it was the controversy that happened off-stage that made some of the biggest headlines.

Late Friday evening, Ed Razek, the Chief Marketing Officer of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company L Brands, sent out a tweet apologizing for his previous statements regarding the exclusion of transgender and plus-size models in the iconic show.

“My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive. I apologize,” Razek tweeted through the Victoria’s Secret account. “To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for a show. We’ve had transgender models come to castings…And like many others, they didn’t make it… But it was never about gender. I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are.”

Razek’s comments stem from the negative reaction regarding his recent Vogue interview, in which he claimed viewers don’t want to see more diverse models on the runway.

“If you’re asking if we’ve considered putting a transgender model in the show or looked at putting a plus-size model in the show, we have. We invented the plus-size model show in what was our sister division, Lane Bryant. Lane Bryant still sells plus-size lingerie, but it sells a specific range, just like every specialty retailer in the world sells a range of clothing,” Razek told Vogue. “As do we. We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world.”

He added that the company previously had a plus size-only project nearly twenty years ago, but viewers didn’t tune in. “We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000],” says Razek. “No one had any interest in it, still don’t.” Razek claimed that a lot of the pressure to include transgender and plus-size models is due to “political correctness.”

“I’m always asking myself: If we do that, what is the reason? Why did we include that person? And did we include them to shut up a reporter? Did we include them because it was the right thing to do or because it was the politically correct thing to do?” he said. “Do they take the place of somebody who worked for a year for the opportunity and cried when they found that they got it?”

He cemented his frustration with “the haters” by claiming that the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show isn’t meant to be based on reality.

“It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because 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, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us.”

While the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show continues to be an international phenomenon, shopping at the store has not. Last week, Forbes reported that the company had suffered a 1% decline in comparable sales in the five weeks ended July 7.

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