Victoria’s Secret is facing a potential boycott after apologizing to a transgender male customer who complained that he was not allowed to change around women. The man took to X (formerly Twitter) yesterday to complain about the alleged “mistreatment,” prompting backlash from women’s rights advocates.
In a thread on X now limited to his followers, @Microdragons1 wrote:
“I went through a truly dehumanizing experience at Victoria’s Secret today due to my status as a trans woman … I was trying to find a cute bra at Victoria’s Secret, and they made me wait until every cis woman left the dressing rooms before I could go into just one of them. They even made other cis women wait until I’d had my turn so no cis women could be in any of the 5 other rooms,” he said, tagging the company in his thread.
“I don’t expect any meaningful change to come of this tweet,” he concluded, adding: “I just need to put my experience into the public sphere as a warning to other trans people, men, and women. Please spread this in hopes of being of some use to somebody.”
Although many initially praised Victoria’s Secret staff for setting healthy boundaries in its fitting rooms, support quickly faded after the infamous lingerie brand’s official social media account issued an apology and invited the male user to reach out to their corporate service line.
“We’re sorry to hear about your experience in our store, and we would love to speak to you directly. Please contact us at 866-583-5465. We are available from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday – Saturday EST, closed Sundays.”
The apology by Victoria’s Secret resulted in a firestorm of rage from women’s rights advocates, who were shocked that the company would prioritize a biological male over their primary customer base.
One X user who goes by the handle @inmyownfashion2 replied:
“I hope you will not make the mistake of prioritizing the demands of a paraphilic man over the safety, privacy, and dignity of women.”
Another, linking disturbing pornographic photos the complainant shared of himself, added:
“This is who you are dealing with.”
“Don’t you DARE put a man’s fetishism before the privacy of women. Don’t you DARE,” wrote one gender-critical account who goes by the handle @SResisters.
In addition to getting thousands of negative comments on its post, commentator Katherine Krozonouski pointed out that “Victoria’s Secret has a long history of prioritizing the fetishes of men over the safety and comfort of women.”
According to interviews with over 30 current and former executives, employees, contractors and models, Victoria’s Secret had a culture of misogyny, harassment, and bullying at the hands of two male executives, Ed Razek and Leslie Wexner.
Razek was one of the top executives at L Brands, the parent company to Victoria’s Secret, and had a reputation for making inappropriate sexual advances toward models, who allege they were “punished” for speaking out about the behavior.
In addition to Razek being perceived as “untouchable” by most employees, Wexner was also “heard demeaning women” on several occasions.
“What was most alarming to me, as someone who was always raised as an independent woman, was just how ingrained this behavior was,” said former public relations employee Casey Crowe Taylor. “This abuse was just laughed off and accepted as normal. It was almost like brainwashing. And anyone who tried to do anything about it wasn’t just ignored. They were punished.”
Disturbingly, Wexner was also known for his ties to serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who, in addition to “managing Wexner’s multibillion-dollar fortune, has a reputation for ‘luring young women’ by pretending to be a Victoria’s Secret recruiter.
In 2019, shortly after Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest for trafficking teenagers as young as 14, Razek announced his departure from the brand. A year later, Wexler stepped down from CEO of L Brands to chairman emeritus, an honorary position with no company authority.