The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is canceled, according to model Shanina Shaik.
“Unfortunately the Victoria’s Secret show won’t be happening this year,” Shaik said of the show, which has run for over 20 years, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph published on Tuesday. “It’s something I’m not used to because every year around this time I’m training like an Angel.”
Victoria’s Secret didn’t immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment.
“But I’m sure in the future something will happen, which I’m pretty sure about. I’m sure they’re trying to work on branding and new ways to do the show because it’s the best show in the world,” the 28-year-old added.
While the news is certainly shocking, many anticipated major changes to the show after Les Wexner, the founder and CEO of L Brands (the parent company of Victoria’s Secret), said that the show may be leaving network television in a memo obtained by CNBC in May.
Wexner added that they needed to “rethink the traditional show” especially after its ratings plunged to historic lows last year.
“Fashion is a business of change. We must evolve and change to grow,” Wexner said. “With that in mind, we have decided to re-think the traditional Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Going forward we don’t believe network television is the right fit.”
Wexner is currently under intense scrutiny for his ties to financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was charged with the sex trafficking of minors in July.
After Epstein founded J. Epstein & Co in 1982, Wexner was his only publicly confirmed client. Epstein and Wexner maintained a close personal and professional relationship throughout the years.
The L Brands CEO transferred ownership of an Upper East Side mansion to the disgraced financier, though no money was exchanged in the transaction, according to Bloomberg. Many of Epstein’s accusers say they were sexually assaulted in that home.
The New York Times also reported that Epstein posed as a Victoria’s Secret scout to lure a woman to his hotel room and later grope her. Another source told the New York Post that Epstein had done this on many occasions and was regarded as a constant fixture at Victoria’s Secret events. The Wall Street Journal reported that the company also sold Epstein a jet for $10 million.
Wexner has denied any involvement or knowledge of Epstein’s alleged behavior, according to an email sent to L Brands employees earlier this month.
“When Mr. Epstein was my personal money manager, he was involved in many aspects of my financial life. But let me assure you that I was NEVER aware of the illegal activity charged in the indictment,” Wexner wrote. “I would not have continued to work with any individual capable of such egregious, sickening behavior as has been reported about him.”
L Brands says it hired an outside law firm to review Epstein’s connections to the company and “conduct a thorough review.”
“While Mr. Epstein served as Mr. Wexner’s personal money manager for a period that ended nearly 12 years ago, we do not believe he was ever employed by nor served as an authorized representative of the company,” an L Brands spokeswoman said last week.
Aside from the Wexner and Epstein connection, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has also faced scrutiny for its lack of body diversity in the show and refusal to sell a wider range of sizes in its stores.
Last November, L Brands chief marketing officer Ed Razek made controversial comments in an interview with Vogue about why Victoria’s Secret doesn’t cast curvier or transgender models as the show is a “fantasy.”
“We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world,” Razek said.
“It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should,” he added. “Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special.”
Many have also questioned the relevancy of the show in the midst of the Me Too era, though model Karlie Kloss, who recently rejoined the VS family, called it “so relevant in the world we live in today” in a 2018 interview with The Telegraph.
“There’s something really powerful about a woman who owns her sexuality and is in charge,” Kloss told the publication at the time.
“A show like this celebrates that and allows all of us to be the best versions of ourselves,” she said. “Whether it’s wearing heels, makeup or a beautiful piece of lingerie — if you are in control and empowered by yourself, it’s sexy.”