A new Hulu docuseries outs the billionaire behind brands like The Limited, Abercrombie & Fitch and Victoria’s Secret as sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s cash cow.
Premiering Wednesday, “Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons” will explore the deep ties between Les Wexner, the founder of L Brands, and the late wealth manager, who rubbed elbows with celebrities, business titans and heads of state while running a child prostitution ring.
A trailer released last week shows that while Epstein amassed dozens of high-profile connections, the Ohio businessman largely funded his exploits, giving him power of attorney and enabling him to make decisions on behalf of his enterprises and his estate in the early ‘90s.
“There wasn’t a part of Wexner’s empire that Epstein didn’t have access to,” an interviewee said, including his 20 companies, his 19 trusts, and his real estate. Epstein predictably exploited the Victoria’s Secret business for access to young women, including aspiring models, when he posed as a scout for the brand. The series will explore how Victoria’s Secret’s culture of sexism and objectification provided the ideal cover for Epstein’s nefarious pursuits.
“The million-dollar question is why a gentleman as brilliant as Wexner could allow this guy into his life,” another interviewee said. When allegations of misconduct surfaced, Wexner insisted that he was unaware of Epstein’s transgressions. Following the sex offender’s death in prison in 2019, Wexner released a letter on his foundation’s website claiming, “I am embarrassed that, like so many others, I was deceived by Mr. Epstein.” The billionaire said that Epstein “misappropriated vast sums of money” while managing his estate, which was “frankly, a tremendous shock, even though it clearly pales in comparison to the unthinkable allegations against him now.” Wexner stepped down as CEO of L Brands in 2020.
Victoria’s Secret is not the only L Brands subsidiary to receive the streaming service exposé treatment this year. March saw the release of a documentary focused on Abercrombie & Fitch’s problematic past—namely, its prejudicial hiring practices. The brand has faced multiple lawsuits since the early 2000s stemming from discrimination against African-American, Latino and Asian American applicants and employees. Like Victoria’s Secret, the retailer traded on a carefully cultivated brand image that ultimately led to a public reckoning.