Former Victoria's Secret Employee Says She Was Left 'Shaking' After Being Body-Shamed at Work

·6 min read
Victoria's Secret store
Victoria's Secret store

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A former Victoria's Secret public relations employee is speaking out in a new documentary about what she calls a "humiliating" and "hurtful" experience that she says occurred behind-the-scenes at the lingerie giant.

In the third episode of Hulu's Victoria's Secret: Angels and Demons, which explores the brand's rise and dark turn under former owner Leslie Wexner, Casey Crowe Taylor alleges that she was body-shamed by company executive Ed Razek, who was the Chief Marketing Officer of L Brands, the parent company of Victoria's Secret, from 1983 until 2019. Crowe Taylor told PEOPLE she had a "very minimal" working relationship with Razek prior to the incident which she says occurred on a shoot with supermodels.

"In June of 2015, we were on set, it's lunchtime and they set up a buffet. I was going up to get more and Ed physically stopped me, like stepped in front of me and said, 'Are you really going to get more food?' and I just kind of froze," she shares of her experience. "And he's like, 'I really don't know how you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning.'"

"I then walked to the bathroom and I'm just hot with humiliation," she continues. "I'm shaking. It was so confusing and hurtful and just like shocking being bullied and harassed out of nowhere in front of the world's biggest supermodels. I realized this is not normal. This should not be an acceptable thing to happen but his behavior was just so normalized."

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In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Crow Taylor opened up about how the incident left her feeling.

"It was necessarily the words that were hard, it was the disrespect and the humiliation of someone who is so low on the totem pole," she shared. "It's not like I was in a position to stand up for myself or have a conversation."

Razek did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment about the allegations made in the documentary, and in the past has denied sexual harassment allegations against him, telling the New York Times in 2020 that the were "categorically untrue, misconstrued or taken out of context."

Crow Taylor told PEOPLE that she reported the incident to her boss who informed Monica Mitro, the former EVP of Public Relations for the brand. She also spoke to human resources about the incident but says it remains unclear whether anyone talked to Razek about his behavior.

In the documentary, Crowe Taylor adds that she realized that she could no longer work for Victoria's Secret after talking with Mitro about the incident.

"Maybe a week later, Monica Mitro puts up an elbow on my cubicle wall and says, 'By the way, Casey. Ed makes some really weird jokes sometimes. Doesn't he?' It was pretty much that day, I immediately started looking for other jobs," she reveals.

"It wasn't what happened with Ed that made me want to resign and leave...It was the way Monica handled it that made me resign almost like days later," she told PEOPLE.

Crowe Taylor shared that she had hoped the conversation would go differently.

"For me what was so alarming was that Monica had a private office, six feet away from my cubicle. It would have been so easy for her to just have me go in, talk to me about what happened, why it wasn't ok," she added. "Even having her say something like, 'It wasn't appropriate. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about it. All I can do is tell you is that I know it wasn't right.' But there's a fine line, if she acknowledges it, what does it become in the company?"

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Leaving the company was still a difficult decision for Crowe Taylor.

"I love this job. I love the people that I work with but I cannot work in a place that completely devalues me and can't even respect on a level of acknowledging what happened to me and saying it wasn't ok," she recalled to PEOPLE.

"This was a dream job. I loved it for a really long time. I was really happy," she added. "And that's what made the end so difficult because it felt like a really terrible, heartbreaking breakup."

In the documentary, Crowe Taylor also recalls another inappropriate comment Razek allegedly made while on the set of a Victoria's Secret sports shoot.

"I remember being on set once and Ed made the comment that women only workout to look good naked for men," she says, noting that from her perspective, this type of behavior was part of the workplace culture at Victoria's Secret and went unreported. "There was always this understanding that like that was just Ed."

Sharleen Ernster, a former Victoria's Secret executive, adds, "You never knew what was going to come out of his mouth. It was like a whole different set of rules that he lived by."

RELATED: Bella Hadid Says Decision to Return to Rebranded Victoria's Secret Was 'Very Complicated'

According to a 2020 investigative report in the The New York Times, Razek had been accused of sexual harassment. At the time the report was published, the publication spoke with over 30 current and former executives, employees and models. Razek was never charged for any misconduct.

Most allegations revolved around Razek, who stepped down from his position in August 2019, months after causing controversy over his comments about hiring transgender or curvy models for the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. He has since apologized for the comments.

Several employees also complained about Razek's behavior, specifically referencing his "demeaning comments and inappropriate touching of women," according to the Times.

Razek denied the sexual harassment allegations, telling the Times, "the accusations in this reporting are categorically untrue, misconstrued or taken out of context," adding, "I've been fortunate to work with countless, world-class models and gifted professionals and take great pride in the mutual respect we have for each other."

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In a statement shared with PEOPLE, Victoria's Secret addressed the documentary and shared that the brand has shifted and evolved since becoming a stand alone company in 2021.

"The company featured in this docuseries does not reflect today's Victoria's Secret & Co. When we became a stand-alone company in August 2021, we set out to regain the trust of our customers, associates and partners," a Victoria's Secret spokesperson told PEOPLE. "Today, we are proud to be a different company, with a new leadership team and mission to welcome, celebrate, and champion all women. This transformation is a journey, and our work continues to become the Victoria's Secret our customers and associates deserve — where everyone feels seen, respected, and valued."

Victoria's Secret: Angels and Demons is streaming now on Hulu.