Victoria’s Secret’s chief marketing officer has resigned, it has been reported.
Ed Razek served in the role at the US lingerie label’s parent company, L Brands, having joined in 1983. He was credited for being a driving force behind Victoria’s Secret‘s annual fashion show.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Razek’s departure was revealed to employees on Monday in an internal memo from chairman and CEO Les Wexner.
The marketing executive’s resignation comes almost a year after he was vilified for saying that Victoria’s Secret would never cast transgender models in its runway show because the event is a “fantasy”.
Razek made the comments in an interview with US Vogue last November, stating: “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.”
The remark prompted a swift backlash, with many calling for Razek’s immediate resignation. He later issued an apology.
Meanwhile, Jan Singer, the brand’s female CEO at the time, left the company shortly after the Vogue interview was published.
News of Razek’s departure follows reports on Sunday that Victoria’s Secret had hired its first openly transgender model, Valentina Sampaio.
The Brazilian model uploaded a photograph of herself on Instagram and tagged Victoria’s Secret’s Pink lingerie line in the picture and the caption, adding hashtags including ”#campaign”, “vspink” and “diversity”.
A day later, Sampaio shared a close-up video of her face on Instagram, using the same hashtags in the caption and writing, ”Never stop dreaming gente”.
Many people interpreted the 22-year-old’s posts to mean she is taking part in a campaign for the lingerie label, which would make her the first openly transgender model to do so.
Razek’s resignation also comes amid claims that Victoria’s Secret is struggling to reposition itself in the #MeToo era. The lingerie label is notorious for propagating monolithic beauty ideals with its annual fashion show, which sees lithe-limbed models from around the world walk down the runway in its designs.
The fashion show, which garners a wave of criticism every year, usually takes place in November, but it’s unclear whether 2019’s event will go ahead.
The 28-year-old told Australia’s Daily Telegraph that the 2019 fashion event has been cancelled, but that she believes the runway show will be back in the future.
“Unfortunately the Victoria’s Secret show won’t be happening this year,” she said. “It’s something that I’m not used to because every year around this time I’m training like an angel.”
The Independent has contacted Victoria’s Secret for comment.
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