New Report Details Sexist, Abusive Corporate Culture at Victoria’s Secret

More bad news for the troubled retailer

Victoria's Secret
A new in-depth report chronicles abusive behavior at the highest echelons of Victoria's Secret.
WestportWiki/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / February 2, 2020 3:34 pm

A new report in The New York Times details a story that’s become all too familiar as of late. It’s about powerful men exploiting women and creating a workplace that went far beyond hostile. The company in question is Victoria’s Secret, and the article — by Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Katherine Rosman, Sapna Maheshwari and James B. Stewart — offers an unsettling look inside a harrowing corporate culture.

The article focuses largely on the misdeeds of executive Ed Razek, whose actions read like a litany of ways someone could abuse their authority:

Ed Razek, for decades one of the top executives at L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, was the subject of repeated complaints about inappropriate conduct. He tried to kiss models. He asked them to sit on his lap. He touched one’s crotch ahead of the 2018 Victoria’s Secret fashion show.

L Brands founder Leslie Wexner was told of Razek’s behavior, but took no actions to discipline his subordinate. Wexner has already been under fire for his connections to Jeffrey Epstein, which came to light last year. The company itself is not in terribly great shape right now — to put it mildly — for a number of reasons.

The Times report notes that Razek is no longer working for L Brands, and Wexner is pondering a sale of Victoria’s Secret. But the damage here has been done — both in terms of a hostile corporate culture and a system that allowed these abuses of power to continue effectively unabated.

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