Earlier this week, more than 100 models signed a letter calling on Victoria’s Secret CEO John Mehas to “make a legally binding commitment to protect contractors like [themselves] from sexual misconduct,” according to Business of Fashion.
“From the headlines about L Brands CEO Leslie Wexner’s close friend and associate, Jeffrey Epstein, to the allegations of sexual misconduct by photographers Timur Emek, David Bellemere and Greg Kadel, it is deeply disturbing that these men appear to have leveraged their working relationships with Victoria’s Secret to lure and abuse vulnerable girls,” read the letter from Model Alliance, which is led by Sara Ziff, a model who “encountered Epstein early in her career.”
Co-signers include former Victoria’s Secret Angel Doutzen Kroes; models like Christy Turlington Burns, Carolyn Murphy, Edie Campbell, Gemma Ward, Iskra Lawrence, Karen Elson and Milla Jovovich; photographers Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin; former Glamour Editor-in-chief Cindi Leive; and Time’s Up.
Victoria’s secret has been in the news a lot lately, and for almost exclusively bad reasons. Sales are way down. The 2019 fashion show was canceled. It was discovered that the brand employed photographers with “a history of sexual misconduct with its models.” And, then there’s Wexner’s “decades-long relationship with sexual offender Jeffrey Epstein,” who had repeatedly “presented himself to models as a scout for the brand.”
Despite the company’s now sullied reputation, its support would still be a “win for the Model Alliance’s Respect initiative,” as it would make VS the first brand of its size to make a commitment of this type.
“Victoria’s Secret has the opportunity to be a leader, to use its power and influence to bring about the changes that are urgently needed in our industry,” the letter said.
Here’s hoping they seize it.
You can read more about it at Business of Fashion.