In May 1997, Alicia Arden, a model in California, was introduced to a man who identified himself as a talent scout for Victoria’s Secret. He invited her to his Santa Monica hotel room to audition for the brand’s catalog. When she arrived, Ms. Arden said, the man grabbed her, tried to undress her and said he wanted to “manhandle” her. Ms. Arden, then 27, fled in tears.
It was the type of crisis that should not have come as a complete surprise to leaders at L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret.
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