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Victoria's Secret Exec Attempts Apology for Inane Trans Comments

Victoria's Secret Exec Attempts Apology for Inane Trans Comments

Victoria's Secret Exec Attempts Apology for Inane Trans Comments

The apology was issued after a wave of objections to an interview given by the chief marketing officer.

rachelkiley

Victoria’s Secret caused outrage last week after chief marketing officer Ed Razek gave an interview to Vogue explaining why, according to him, they would never cast transgender women in their popular televised runway show.

“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,” Razek started, responding to a comment from the interviewer about other brands including trans women in their ad campaigns. The topic shifted away briefly before Razek circled back, apparently bringing up criticisms the company has received online: “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.”

Razek displayed an out-of-touch insensitivity that might be more shocking if he worked for another company, both in his use of the largely outdated term “transsexuals” and by his heavy-handed insinuation that a “fantasy” world, as VS presents, can’t include transgender women and still retain its magic.

The internet did not react kindly to this regressive mindset, even prompting several prominent trans activists and artists to speak out.

Andreja Pejić took a break from promoting The Girl in the Spider’s Web to post this response on her Insta story:

Gigi Gorgeous took the time to record a whole video of her reaction and disappointment for her YouTube channel:

And even Rihanna, who was dragged into the fray when Razek appeared annoyed at everyone praising the inclusivity of her show, threw some vague shade his way by “liking” a post criticizing his inane comments, according to Buzzfeed.

Razek has since attempted some damage control, issuing an apology claiming “we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show. We’ve had transgender models come to castings… And like many others, they didn’t make it… But it was never about gender.”

 

 

Sigh.

It’s the age old excuse used by people who want to maintain the status quo: we just picked the best people, and the status quo was the best. Not to mention the fact that Razek claims not casting transgender models “was never about gender” betrays the likelihood that he doesn’t realize trans women are, you know, women.

Despite Razek’s comments, and despite Victoria’s Secrets’ other missteps and controversies when it comes to inclusiveness, the brand continues to be a mainstay and this probably won’t do much to change that. But hopefully it will encourage other brands to step up and make sure they’re being inclusive in their own advertisements and runway shows — or encourage new ones to step in and help pave the way.

As for VS, one can only hope that one day they’ll put someone in charge of marketing who wants to sell their products to all women. Seems like a pretty sound business strategy if you ask me.

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Rachel Kiley

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.