100 Models Call On Victoria’s Secret To Address Sexual Harassment Claims
Doutzen Kroes, Christy Turlington Burns and Edie Campbell are among those to sign an open letter to Victoria’s Secret urging them to protect their models from sexual harassment. So far over 100 model have signed the letter, which has been backed by the Times Up movement.
The letter asks Victoria’s Secret to agree to the Model Alliance Respect programme, which was created by models and formalises the ways models can make workplace complaints, it has its own independent body in which to investigate these complaints.
The letter comes after charges made against convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was linked with L Brands’ COO Leslie Werner. L Brands owns Victoria’s Secret.
The Model Alliance has reportedly been in talks with the brand since November 2018, but has now decided to escalate matter after a series of allegations against Timur Emek, who photographed Victoria’s Secret shows. Models have felt safer sharing their own stories and concerns with the Alliance in the last few weeks.
“We appreciate that these are allegations,” said model Sara Ziff, who spearheaded the letter. “We are simply saying that with so many allegations against multiple Victoria’s Secret photographers and The New York Times reporting on the apparent connection between L Brands’ CEO and Jeffery Epstein, Victoria’s Secret has a problem.”
The document itself was also signed by Carolyn Murphy, Gemma Ward, Iskra Lawrence, Karen Elson and Milla Jovovich, as well as famed photographers Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.
“We are writing today to express our concern for the safety and well-being of the models and young women who aspire to model for Victoria’s Secret,” reads the letter. “In the past few weeks, we have heard numerous allegations of sexual assault, alleged rape and sex trafficking of models and aspiring models. While these allegations may not have been aimed at Victoria’s Secret directly, it is clear your company has a crucial role to play in remedying the situation.”
A spokesperson for Victoria’s Secret told WWD: “We are always concerned about the welfare of our models and want to continue to have dialogue with the Model Alliance and others to accomplish meaningful progression in the industry.”