Liberal soccer star Megan Rapinoe has come under fire after a tweet she made more than 10 years was revealed in which she mocked someone for looking ‘Asian’ because of their eyes.
Rapinoe, the new face of Victoria’s Secret, had reportedly made the tweet to former professional soccer player and Olympic gold medalist Natasha Kai – who is of Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino and Caucasian heritage, according to Sports Room.
‘u look asian with those closed eyes!’ Rapinoe, 35, wrote in the May 19, 2011 tweet.
The account believed to have belonged to Kai, 38, no longer exists and it remains unclear what the tweet Rapinoe was responding to included. Kai has another Twitter account she opened in 2016 that has not posted since 2018.
Rapinoe – a vocal advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights – was revealed as a new spokeswoman for the lingerie brand this week.
She has previously told the New York Times that the old Victoria’s Secret was ‘patriarchal, sexist, viewing not just what it meant to be sexy but what the clothes were trying to accomplish through a male lens and through what men desired.
‘And it was very much marketed toward younger women,’ which promoted a ‘really harmful’ message.
In the tweet, Rapinoe mocked someone for looking ‘Asian’ because of their eyes
Liberal soccer star Megan Rapinoe has come under fire after a tweet she made more than 10 years was revealed
Rapinoe made the tweet to former professional soccer player and Olympic gold medalist Natasha Kai – who is of Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino and Caucasian heritage
But the resurfaced tweet about Kai from 2011 has sparked outrage online, with some asking weather the soccer star will now get ‘canceled’
‘I wonder what day she decided to stop racisming?’ @AnhonestR tweeted.
Others like @BonzalezRoland mocked how she made the post from a BlackBerry phone.
‘I’m not ashamed for your racism against asians, I’m ashamed you owned a BlackBerry when iPhone was the superior smartphone,’ @Bonzalez Roland tweeted.
Another account @shaner5000 wrote: ‘oof, anti-Asian hate doesn’t look good in lingerie, @VictoriasSecret.’
In another tweet, @TheGovIsSus wrote: ‘Knew Victoria Secret was gonna bomb for hiring her, I just didn’t know it be this fast.’
‘People, remember nothing will happen to her she’s on that one side. You know the side that would have literally anyone else gone by now for a tweet from 2011 with 200 likes lmao. AND FROM A BLACKBERRY Face with tears of joy,’ @SirJohnTheIV tweeted.
On Thursday, U.S. lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret signed a new roster led by Rapinoe to replace the brand’s hypersexualized models, who are under scrutiny for their embodiment of male fantasy over an accurate representation of what women seek in undergarments.
People react to Rapinoe’s offending tweet on Twitter which she has not yet addressed publicly
The store, which brought sexy lingerie to the masses in the 1970s and then made billions, has been overshadowed in recent years by brands that have openly embrace both bodily and ethnic diversity.
Criticized for its objectification of women, Victoria’s Secret in 2019 abandoned its famed fashion show, a globally televised event that saw women parade down the catwalk in barely-there lingerie replete with gems, feathers and lace.
‘When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond,’ said chief executive Martin Waters in an interview with the New York Times. ‘We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.’
One of the first companies to step into the void of Victoria’s Secret’s dimming star was Savage X Fenty, a lingerie company launched by singer Rihanna in 2018 which is now valued at $1 billion, according to an estimate by Forbes magazine.
Victoria’s Secret in 2019 abandoned its famed fashion show, a globally televised event that saw women parade down the catwalk in barely-there lingerie replete with gems, feathers and lace.
In an attempt to make up for lost ground, Victoria’s Secret, which saw sales drop 7.7 percent in 2019 even before the pandemic, launched its new collective of female brand representatives on Wednesday.
Among Rapinoe’s cohorts are Indian actress Priyanka Chopra Jones and Brazilian transgender model Valentina Sampaio.
Rapinoe, a two-time World Cup champion, has been the face of American women’s soccer for nearly a decade.
‘Often I felt myself on the outside looking in with brands in the beauty and fashion industry,’ Rapinoe, a lesbian and activist for women’s and LGBTQ rights, said in a statement.
‘I’m thrilled to be creating a space that sees the true spectrum of all women,’ she added.
Victoria’s Secret plans to resume its fashion show in 2022, but in a very different format, Waters told the Times.
The parent company of Victoria’s Secret, L Brands, announced in May that it had spun off the lingerie company, in an attempt to separate it from its other holdings.
Fallen Angels: How Victoria’s Secret went from a once global phenomenon and the lingerie of choice for the world’s biggest stars to a brand fighting to stay relevant
Victoria’s Secret was founded in 1977 by US businessman Roy Raymond, who set up a small chain of boudoir lingerie shops when he could find no man-friendly women’s stores.
In 1982 he sold the company to clothing magnate Les Wexner for $1million – a fraction of its current value. Raymond later committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
He chose the name Victoria after Queen Victoria, thinking it sounded refined, and added Secret to refer to what was hidden under the clothes.
Eventually, hundreds of stores opened coast to coast, but it was the glitzy launch of Victoria’s Secret’s first blatantly sexy catwalk show at the Plaza Hotel, New York in 1995 which made the difference.
Beginning: The first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City in 1995 with models such as Angelika Kallio (left) and Leilani (right) walking the runway
Broadcast on network TV to 185 countries, millions tuned in to see supermodels Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen, Tyra Banks and Karen Mulder – among others – stripped back to the barest of essentials.
Victoria’s Secret opened its first flagship store in London’s Bond Street in 2012, and staged its first catwalk show in 2014, featuring Ed Sheeran as star turn, but recent years have been more challenging.
Aside from a small rise in the first quarter in 2018, the lingerie retailer had falling sales every quarter since the fourth quarter in 2016.
Victoria’s Secret shuttered 20 stores in 2018 amid a poor annual sales performance, ending the year with former CEO Jan Singer resigning last November.
The lingerie giant’s parent company, L Brands, confirmed in November 2019 that its famous show wouldn’t take place. The decision was part of a move to ‘evolve the messaging of [the company],’ Fortune reported at the time.
Famous faces: The show has featured some of the world’s most in-demand models over the years, including Bella Hadid in New York in 2018 (left) and Heidi Klum in Miami in 2008 (right)
Supermodel Tyra Banks displays an outfit during the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in New York in 2003 (left)
It came a year after marketing chief Ed Razek said the brand would not cast plus-sized or ‘transexual’ models because the show is a ‘fantasy.’
In 2020, more than 100 models signed an open letter to the then CEO of Victoria’s Secret calling for him to take action on the company’s ‘culture of misogyny and abuse’.
The letter urged John Mehas to end what the group – which included Christy Turlington Burns, Iskra Lawrence, Edie Campbell, Amber Valletta and Felicity Hayward – described as an ‘entrenched culture of misogyny’ at the lingerie chain.
With consumers turning away from glamour towards comfort, plus a huge backlash following reports of Wexner’s historic friendship with disgraced financier Jeffery Epstein, Victoria’s Secret faced an identity crisis.
As well as a shift in public perception of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, the brand faced a continued decline in sales.
Last year, the brand tried a new approach, posting photos on its Instagram account that promote neutral underwear in a variety of skin tones and using models from different ethnic backgrounds and showing size diversity.
However, some lingerie fans said the company’s bid to finally become more diverse was ‘too little, too late’ and accused the brand of ‘playing catch-up’.
In May 2020, parent company L Brands announced the closure of 250 stores in the US and Canada, after being impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The closures represented nearly a quarter of Victoria’s Secret’s 1,091 locations in North America.