Victoria's Secret executives confirmed the show's cancellation on Thursday amid ongoing controversy about the lack of body diversity on the runway

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The recent bombshell news that the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show will be canceled this year is causing an internet frenzy — some supporting the brand’s decision not to the air the show, while others argue the world has become too sensitive.

Stuart B. Burgdoerfer, chief financial officer and executive vice president of L Brands (the parent company of Victoria’s Secret), announced the news during a conference call with analysts on Thursday morning.

The brand’s annual show has been at the center of controversy for not embracing models of all sizes and backgrounds on its runway — prompting some users on social media to applaud Victoria’s Secret on the company’s recent move.

One Twitter user wrote that “hopefully rebranding means a wider range of sizes and a more diverse slew of models,” a sentiment that other users agreed with.

“I agree. Honestly, after watching Rihanna‘s SavageXFenty show and seeing the diversity in skin tones, shapes, ethnicities, and the actual performance level, I wasn’t even planning on watching the Victoria’s Secret show,” added another, referencing Rihanna‘s highly-inclusive lingerie fashion show in September.

Another user said, “Good. It’s time for them to rebrand, bc their entire image is early 2000’s and non-inclusive.”

While many users agreed with executives that it was time to rebrand, avid fans of the show shared that the show cancelation was not necessary.

“Canceling the Victoria Secret fashion show bc it showcases ‘unrealistic beauty standards’ is f—ing ridiculous lmfaaoo those girls work so hard to be on that stage. The level of sensitivity is absurd,” one user wrote.

“Because ppl are so sensitive nowadays the Victoria secret fashion show got cancelled ? I’m pissed,” added another.

“We recognize and appreciate that the communication of the brand, the offerings, the emotional content of Victoria’s Secret is obviously an important thing,” Burgdoerfer said in his announcement Thursday.

“[The show] was a very important part of the brand-building of this business and was an important aspect of the brand and a remarkable marketing achievement,” he continued. “And with that said, we’re figuring out how to advance the positioning of the brand and best communicate that to customers and that’s among the things that [Victoria’s Secret chief executive officer] John [Mehas] is focused on.”

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show launched in 1995 and soon became synonymous with supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Gisele Bundchen and Miranda Kerr, who famously hit the runway in elaborate lingerie, wings and sleepwear designs year after year. The show was first broadcasted on television in 2001 on ABC and was then broadcasted on CBS from 2002 to 2017, returning to ABC last year.

While Burgdoerfer says the brand will still be “communicating to customers,” he maintained that right now any immediate marketing plans are not “similar in magnitude to the fashion show.”

Karolina Kurkova, Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Gisele Bundchen and Adriana Lima
Credit: Getty

“But you can be sure we’ll be communicating with customers through lots of vehicles including social media and various, more current platforms,” he concluded.

Despite its longevity, the company has seen a steady decline in sales since 2016, and according to CNBC. The 2018 fashion show had the worst ratings in the history of the show’s broadcast.

In November 2018, former Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek faced backlash after telling Vogue that the brand would not hire transgender or curvy models for the annual show.

“Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special,” Razek told the magazine.

For last year’s show, Victoria’s Secret made an effort to expand diversity on the runway by casting 19 models of color, including Winnie Harlow, the first model with vitiligo, to walk in the show. Ed Razek stepped down from his post in August 2019.