More than 100 fashion industry stars have joined forces to demand lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret does more to guarantee the safety of its models.
In an open letter to the brand, celebrities, models and activists including Gemma Ward, Saskia de Brauw and Resident Evil actress Milla Jovovich told of their heartbreak and disgust, following a flurry of allegations of rape, sexual assault and sex trafficking from Victoria’s Secret models and aspiring models.
“It is deeply disturbing that these men appear to have leveraged their working relationships with Victoria’s Secret to lure and abuse vulnerable girls,” the letter said. It singled out photographers Timur Emek, David Bellemere, and Greg Kadel who are currently under scrutiny over claims of “sexual misconduct”.
“These stories are gut-wrenching and hit close to home for many of us who have encountered these kinds of abuses that are too often tolerated in our industry,” it went on.
“We stand with the courageous women who have come forward and shared their stories, despite fears of retaliation or harm to their careers.”
Campaigners called on Victoria’s Secret to join the Model Alliance’s Respect programme, which requires signatories to uphold strict codes of conduct for all employees, vendors, photographers and other contractors. It would reduce models’ vulnerability to mistreatment and allow them access to an independent and confidential complaints service, said the Model Alliance.
At the time of publication, Victoria’s Secret was yet to respond to Euronews Living’s request for comment.
Co-signers to the letter included fashion industry executives, photographers, designers and stylists as well as supermodels such as Doutzen Kroes, Christy Turlington Burns and Erin O’Connor – who made headlines at the beginning of the year after walking the runway at Couture Fashion Week in Paris while heavily pregnant.