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Former Victoria’s Secret boss made sexist comments about models, employee claims

Ed Razek resigned from his position at the lingerie brand in 2019

Saman Javed
Wednesday 20 October 2021 16:58 BST
Ed Razek, former Victoria’s Secret chief marketing officer in 2014
Ed Razek, former Victoria’s Secret chief marketing officer in 2014 (Getty Images for Victoria's Secr)

Victoria’s Secret’s former chief marketing officer allegedly made derogatory comments about models’ bodies, a past employee at the lingerie company has said.

In a recent episode of “Fallen Angel”, a podcast that aims to uncover the origin of Victoria’s Secret and its impact on women, Casey Crowe Taylor said Ed Razek would often give models “inappropriate compliments”.

Crowe Taylor, who worked in the company’s public relations department, said she witnessed Razek ask models to sit on his lap during photoshoots.

“The other really awkward thing he would do on set was with other grown professional men, men with daughters, men with children, where he would make them look at and compliment this half-naked 20-year-old-model,” she said.

“That felt so wrong to me,” she added.

When asked to clarify what kind of comments he made, she said: “It was more like ‘look at her ass, isn’t her ass amazing’. Most of his comments were boob, ass, legs, sex-related.”

Crowe Taylor said she also has a vivid memory of Razek making a sexist remark about women’s bodies.

“He said women only work out to look good naked to have sex with men,” she recalled.

The former employee, who now works as a photographer and lives in Virginia, US, previously told The New York Times that Razek publicly berated her about her weight during a photoshoot.

In June 2015, Crowe Taylor went up to get a second plate of food during a buffet lunch when Razek reportedly intercepted.

“Then, with dozens of people watching and Crowe Taylor holding her empty plate, he tore into her, berating her about her weight and telling her to lay off the pasta and bread,” the Times reported.

Crowe Taylor said she fled to a bathroom where she “burst into tears”. She later reported the incident to the company’s HR department, but no action was taken.

“What was most alarming to me, as someone who was always raised as an independent woman, was just how ingrained this behaviour was,” she said.

“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 resigned from his position at Victoria’s Secret in 2019. In 2018, he faced a wave of criticism after telling Vogue that transexual models should not be cast in the fashion show.

The “Fallen Angel” podcast, which first aired on 4 October, also includes accounts from former models at the brand such as Bridget Malcolm, who walked in the 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

Malcolm told the hosts that since leaving the company, she has been diagnosed with PTSD and has suffered from panic attacks.

In a statement to The Independent, Victoria’s Secret said: “There is a new leadership team at Victoria’s Secret who is fully committed to the continued transformation of the brand with a focus on creating an inclusive environment for our associates, customers and partners to celebrate, uplift and champion all women.”

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