To all of those pro-inclusivity activists who accused Victoria’s Secret of being the paragon of “outdated” sensibilities when it comes to female beauty, congratulations: You won.
The New York Times reports that the lingerie company’s annual fashion show has been cancelled as the brand struggles with its longtime CEO’s association with Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted pedophile who allegedly killed himself (or was murdered) in his prison cell in a Manhattan jail.
But after years of waning viewership and criticism that VS isn’t an “all-inclusive” brand, L Brands, Victoria Secret’s parent company, has decided that the fashion show is a relic from a bygone era, and that it’s time for Victoria’s Secret’s marketing to evolve.
“We think it’s important to evolve the marketing of Victoria’s Secret,” Stuart Burgdoerfer, the chief financial officer of L Brands, said on an earnings call on Thursday. “We’ll be communicating to customers, but nothing that I would say is similar in magnitude to the fashion show,” he added later.
The company announced in May that it would stop airing the event on network television, but its comments late Thursday were the first official confirmation that the show has been cancelled.
Victoria’s Secret sales have cratered in recent years. While SJWs have pointed to this as proof that the company has an image problem that’s alienating customers, it’s more likely that the twin trends of e-commerce and fast fashion have chipped away at the company’s profits.
And let’s not forget: Last year, Edward Razek, then the CMO of L Brands, provoked a controversy for saying transgender women should not star in the show. Razek apologized for the remarks and ended up retiring in August, soon after the company hired its first openly transgender model.
The show was once known for its opulent costumes, including jewel-encrusted lingerie sets, and performances from pop’s biggest stars. But the audience has dwindled in recent years, reflecting a broader trend in live, non-sport television, down from 12 million in 2001 when the show firs launched to roughly 3.3 million last year.