Employees Question If
Workplace Issues Corrected
Many former employees never contacted by
Second Epstein Investigation Begins at Victoria’s Secret, but What’s Changed?
An internal review started after Jeffrey Epstein’s ties to the company were
revealed has not produced any public findings. Some employees question
whether workplace issues have been properly addressed.
It has been more than a year since L Brands, the owner of Victoria’s Secret,
said it was hiring a law firm to investigate its billionaire founder Leslie H.
close ties to the convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein, but no findings
have been made public and the review has seemed to fade from view.
Maybe a new law firm will fare better.
After Mr. Epstein’s July 2019 arrest, revelations about his sweeping power
over the retail magnate’s fortune and how he may have used his link to the
lingerie giant to prey on women prompted the company to swiftly declare that it
had hired lawyers to conduct a “thorough review” of the matter.
The company enlisted Davis Polk & Wardwell, the white-shoe law firm
that it had relied on for legal counsel for years, and that once employed
Mr. Wexner’s wife, Abigail. But nothing about the scope of the investigation has
been released since, and many former Victoria’s Secret employees, including two
who had interacted with Mr. Epstein, said they were never contacted by
Now, a second inquiry has begun at the company. A shareholder lawsuit
filed in May suggested Davis Polk was too close to L Brands to be truly
independent. The shareholder said they asked the board in February to replace
Davis Polk or hire another firm as a “check” for its review of Mr. Wexner and
Mr. Epstein’s relationship.
Last month, at least five current and former Victoria’s Secret employees were
surprised to hear from a new lawyer.
In an email obtained by The New York Times, Ms. Eddy said her firm was
investigating “allegations raised in shareholder demand letters and civil
complaints concerning, among other things, connections between L Brands and
Jeffrey Epstein.” The former employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity
citing fear of retribution, all said they had received similar calls and emails.
Shareholder complaints have also raised concerns about allegations of
misconduct and a culture of harassment and misogyny at L Brands and its
lingerie powerhouse, suggesting that the new investigation could be looking into
The new investigation is the latest jolt for L Brands and Victoria’s Secret,
months after the pandemic
foiled a plan to sell the lingerie brand to a private-equity firm. Even
before the revelations about Mr. Epstein, Victoria’s Secret was
battling a decline while facing criticism that its lingerie-clad models were
out of step with current views of beauty.
But L Brands has also faced intense scrutiny about its workplace environment. An
article by The Times in February showed that Mr. Wexner and his former
chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, presided over an entrenched culture of
misogyny, bullying and harassment at L Brands and Victoria’s Secret.
The Daily's Special
Report from March:
The #MeToo Impact on Retail - The End of the Old Guard Era
20+ Retailers, 10+ CEOs, Dozens More Sr. Execs Involved
In this Special Report, we put together a timeline chronicling #MeToo scandals
involving retailers in recent years, starting with the infamous Dov Charney/American
Apparel scandal of 2014.
While our timeline shows over 20 retail companies, 10 CEOs and dozens more
C-Level executives involved, we are limited to reporting only what has been made
publicly available. It's safe to say there are many, many other cases that have
See the #MeToo Retail Timeline here.