The dust seemed to have settled from Victoria’s Secret head honcho Ed Razek’s discriminatory comments about transgender models last month, but the show’s televised broadcast this weekend resurfaced the conversation. Halsey, who performed at the pre-recorded show weeks ago alongside straight femme icon Shawn Mendes, Aquaria’s new BFF Bebe Rexa, and (ugh) The Chainsmokers, waited until yesterday to make an official statement.
"I have adored the Victoria’s Secret fashion show since I was young,” she wrote in a pink and white Instagram post (the brand’s official colors). “Performing this year alongside other amazing artists and hard-working models/friends was supposed to be the best night of my year. However, after I filmed the performance, some comments were made regarding the show that I simply cannot ignore."
She is, of course, referring to Razek’s comments in an interview with Vogue, where he said Victoria’s Secret wouldn’t cast a “transsexual” model in their show. "I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is. It is the only one of its kind in the world, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us.”
The controversy that followed caused Victoria’s Secret CEO Jan Singer — a woman who wasn’t involved in the interview — to resign, all while Razek presumably remains in his job… And, beyond the internet fury of mostly LGBTQ+ people and a canned apology from corporate about Razek’s interview, that’s pretty much all of the backlash they received (although CNN did report a continued drop in Victoria’s Secret’s sales).
"As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have no tolerance for a lack of inclusivity,” Halsey wrote. “Especially not one motivated by stereotype.” She then directed those on her page to GLSEN, an organization aimed at helping LGBTQ+ kids. “With respect to those youth targeted by these comments in a world where they have been made to feel ‘other,’ I have made a sizable donation in their honor,” Halsey added.
She concluded: “"If you are a trans person reading this, and these comments made you feel alienated or invalidated please know that you have allies. We stand in solidarity, and complete and total acceptance is the only "fantasy" that I support..."
Maybe now I can finally forgive her for doing nothing when Jackson Maine pissed his pants at the Grammys!
In all seriousness, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is an arcane spectacle that celebrates the male gaze. Please support any number of lingerie brands available to us that do better — way better. Oh, and buy from Chromat, which is a size-inclusive brand run by a queer woman that regularly casts trans models without tokenizing them.