The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show used to be one of the highest-profile television events of the year. Last year, though, it was a major flop, due largely to some blatantly transphobic and fatphobic comments by the brand’s CMO Ed Razek. Now, the brand has announced that the 2019 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is officially canceled.
In a 2018 interview with Vogue, Razek admitted that the brand simply isn’t interested in casting trans or plus-sized models for fashion shows or campaigns. He said: “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.” Of plus-sized models, he added: “We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.”
Razek’s comments landed poorly with 2018 consumers, to say the least. The brand suffered from massive backlash on social media, with many people vowing to boycott. It later closed 53 stores. Notably, Razek was never fired for his comments, though several other higher-ups stepped down.
On Thursday, Stuart Burgdoerfer, the chief financial officer for parent company L Brands, confirmed the cancellation of the 2019 Fashion Show.
“There will be more to come as that continues to get evaluated,” Burgdoerfer said in a phone call with executives. “We recognize and appreciate that the communication of the brand, the offerings, the emotional content of Victoria’s Secret is obviously an important thing.”
He added: “[The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show] was a very important part of the brand building of this business and was an important aspect of the brand and a remarkable marketing achievement. And with that said, we’re figuring out how to advance the positioning of the brand and best communicate that to customers and that’s among the things that [Victoria’s Secret CEO] John [Mehas] is focused on.”
Based on this statement, we wouldn’t be surprised if Victoria’s Secret attempted to do an LGBTQ-friendly and body-positive re-brand in the upcoming years—but unluckily for them, we’ve already moved on to queer-owned lingerie brands and Savage x Fenty.
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