Lingerie powerhouse Victoria's Secret has taken a beating in America of late, with record-low viewership of the brand's annual fashion show amid criticism from social justice warriors and wavering interest from its domestic target market.
What are the details?
On Sunday, Vicky's televised catwalk display flopped for the second year in a row in the U.S., resulting in the lowest ratings the promotion has ever seen. Fox News reported on Monday that viewership of the 2018 Fashion Show — which debuted on ABC this weekend after years on CBS — averaged 3.3 million viewers and a 0.9 rating among its key demographic of adults ages 18-49.
Last year, the provocative boudoir fantasy lured in roughly 5 million viewers with a 1.5 rating, meaning this year's show took a 40 percent plunge in the brand's target audience.
No need to rush out and stock up on lacey knickers just yet, though, as the company reported that last year's show was still viewed by roughly 1 billion people in 190 countries.
Nonetheless, according to The Hollywood Reporter, "Victoria's Secret's low ratings are the least of its problems," because "a damning November interview with Vogue prompted outcry from the LGBTQ community for the brand's dismissal of transgender models, and CEO Jan Singer has since resigned."
In an interview with Vogue published Nov. 8, the chief marketing officer of Victoria's Secret's parent company, L Brands, made comments that triggered outrage among social justice warriors fighting for inclusion in the fashion industry.
Responding to a question about whether or not the firm had considering shifting its branding targets, CMO Ed Razek addressed the requests he gets for including models from marginalized groups in the company's advertising campaigns.
"It's like, why doesn't your show do this? Shouldn't you have transsexuals in the show?" Razek fired back. "No. No, I don't think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It's a 42-minute entertainment special."
One day after the Vogue interview, Razek apologized for his comments on Twitter, posting that his "remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive."
"I apologize," the executive continued. "To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show. We've had transgender models come to castings...And like many others, they didn't make it...But it was never about gender. I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are."
Please read this important message from Ed Razek, Chief Marketing Officer, L Brands (parent company of Victoria's Secret). pic.twitter.com/CW8BztmOaM
— Victoria's Secret (@VictoriasSecret) November 10, 2018
Victoria's Secret's CEO of two years, Jan Singer, stepped down Nov. 14, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing declining sales.