CEO Of Brandy Melville Fashion Brand Accused Of Fostering Racist Work Environment, Not Wanting Black People In Stores
"If she was Black, if she was fat ... he didn’t want them in the store,” the brand's former senior vice president Luca Rotondo said of Stephen Marsan.
September 10, 2021 at 3:31 pm
Stephen Marsan, CEO of fashion brand Brandy Melville, is embroiled in controversy after an incendiary report released Tuesday accused him of creating a toxic work environment tainted by misogyny and racism. According to Business Insider, former senior vice president Luca Rotondo came forward with the allegations, saying Marsan told him to only hire girls who fit his standard.
Rotondo worked for more than nine years at the teen fashion brand known, in part, for its "one-size-fits-most" approach. Rotondo said employees would get Black customers to leave ahead of store visits from Marsan and Black workers would often find themselves getting replaced by white employees.
"If she was Black, if she was fat ... he didn’t want them in the store,” Rotondo told Insider.
The allegations also reveal that the CEO would ask for full-body pictures of girls as young as 14, then decided if store managers should hire them or not. Girls who worked at the company were expected to keep sending full-body photos to the CEO whenever they were at the store, the report revealed. Executives said Marsan described this approach as a method to keep an eye on fashion trends.
Some of the more favored employees, labeled as “special snowflakes,” were given access to the company’s SoHo loft. They were also taken on special trips and treated to shopping sprees.
Still, the “special snowflakes” were allegedly told to strip in front of male management and try new clothes. A 21-year-old woman said a man who ran several Brandy Melville stores sexually assaulted her at the company’s SoHo loft.
Marsan is also accused of making at least 24 references to Adolf Hitler while conversing in a group chat which included about 30 of his male friends and coworkers. The CEO allegedly sent several other racist messages as well. According to Business Insider, one message included a picture of a scene from the TV show Happy Days, alongside a caption that said, “There were no Black people in this show—that’s why it was called ‘Happy Days.’”
PacSun, the only U.S. Brandy Melville wholesaler, responded to the allegations, saying they were “deeply troubled” by the report. The company said they are reevaluating their relationship with the brand.