Victoria’s Secret chief marketing officer has apologised for comments he made about transgender models.
In an interview with Vogue magazine, Ed Razek had said the lingerie company’s annual shows were “a fantasy” and should not include them. Mr Razek later said his remarks were “insensitive”.
The 2018 show took place on 8 November in New York, featuring models Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner.
Victoria’s Secret has been grappling with falling sales since 2016.
Gender ‘plays no part’
In a wide-ranging interview published on Thursday, Mr Razek and the company’s executive vice-president of public relations, Monica Mitro, were asked whether the brand was putting more emphasis on diversity.
Mr Razek, who is part of the casting team, admitted that he had “considered” putting transgender and plus-sized models in the show, but had not as the company “did not market to the whole world”.
Mr Razek went on to say: “Does the brand think about diversity? Yes. Do we offer larger sizes? Yes… Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should.”
“The show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is. It is the only one of its kind in the world,” he said.
Following a backlash on social media, Victoria’s Secret released a statement from Mr Razek on Twitter, which read:
“To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model in our show. We’ve had transgender models come to castings… And like many others, they didn’t make it.”
“It was never about gender,” he added.
Others defended Mr Razek’s comments, arguing shoppers did not have to buy the product if they did not agree with the company’s ethos.
Victoria’s Secret operates in 80 countries worldwide, and opened two flagship stories in China in 2017.