COLUMBUS, O.H. (WCMH) — A new report from The New York Times details a culture of misogyny and sexual harassment by top executives at Victoria’s Secret, a company run by Columbus-based L Brands and its chief executive, Les Wexner.
According to the New York Times, Ed Razek, L Brands’ chief marketing officer at the time of the alleged complaints, was the subject of repeated complaints about inappropriate behavior toward Victoria’s Secret models.
Razek, according to sources interviewed by the Times, would try to kiss the models, ask them to sit on his lap, and even allegedly touched one model’s crotch before the 2018 Victoria’s Secret fashion show.
Wexner, according to the report, was told about Razek’s behavior, at which point some of the women who complained said they faced retaliation. One model stated the company stopped hiring her after she complained about Razek’s behavior.
The article states it interviewed more than 30 current and former executives, employees, contractors, and models.
L Brands’ independent directors of the board issued the following statement Saturday evening:
On behalf of the independent directors of the board, we can assure you that the company is intensely focused on the corporate governance, workplace, and compliance practices that directly impact our 80,000 associates around the world, nearly 90 percent of whom are female. With the adoption in recent years of even more robust anti-harassment policies, hotline reporting, and training, we have made significant strides in ensuring that the company provides a safe, welcoming, and empowering workplace for every associate. We regret any instance where we did not achieve this objective and are fully committed to continuous improvement and complete accountability.L BRANDS STATEMENT
Also included with the statement was a link to the company’s civility and anti-harassment policy and its photoshoot procedures policy.
Razek left L Brands in August 2019. According to reports this week, Wexner is considering the possibility of stepping aside as CEO of L Brands as well as selling the Victoria’s Secret brand. A spokesperson for L Brands declined to comment on the report this week.
Wexner has been tied to financier Jeffrey Epstein, an alleged child sex predator and human trafficker who died via suicide in prison in August 2019.
Epstein worked as Wexner’s personal finance manager and was given power of attorney over Wexner’s financial affairs in 1991.
Wexner is on the record calling Epstein’s behavior “abhorrent” and “something that we would all condemn.”
Wexner has been allegedly tied to an incident of sexual assault by Epstein on a property Wexner owned with his wife in New Albany in 1996. Wexner has denied any knowledge of the alleged assault at his home.