Brandy Melville Employees Claim Executives Pressure Teen Girls To Strip In Front Of Them & Send Full-Body Photos

Photo: Arne Beruldsen / Shutterstock
Brandy Melville

Reports of Brandy Melville’s toxic, racist, sexist, antisemitic, fatphobic and exploitative work culture have rocked the world of oversized sweaters and crop tops. 

And though we could have guessed from the “one-size-fits-all” clothing racks that inclusivity wasn’t at the core of the company’s business model — working at Brandy Melville is more horrifying than we could have anticipated. 

Why you should not buy from Brandy Melville.

Details of Brandy Melville’s environment of sexism, racism and antisemitism should be enough to send any ethical shopper elsewhere.  

Brandy Melville's CEO, Stephen Marsan, is being accused of refusing to hire Black women or fat women in a scathing report from Insider.

A culture of sexism, and one reported incident of sexual assault, has permeated the work environment at the company for years. 

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Brandy Melville is a favorite among teen girls — many young teens probably envy the models and store assistants who work for the brand. But beyond it’s Instagrammable branding and unattainably flawless look is a reality that is most definitely not enviable.

Brandy Melville employees are required to send full-body photos to and strip down in front of executives. 

According to the report, girls who work at Brandy Melville stores are required to send a full-body photo of themselves to executives before each shift.

Some of the girls are as young as 14 and their images may be passed around between the adult executives — the report claims Marsan would receive up to 2,000 messages per day.

Some of the employees working at the stores claim Brandy Melville exacerbated their eating disorders and decayed their mental health. 

One former employee, Mina Marlena, who started working at Brandy Melville when she was 17, says she was asked to get changed in front of Marsan and his right hand man, Jessy Longo.

She says this would often mean stripping down to nothing but a thong in front of the men. 

“I always felt like I had to do what they were asking or I would lose my position," she explained.

There was reportedly a belief in the stores that going fully topless in these try-on sessions could lead to higher pay so girls as young as 14 would strip down. 

Antisemitic comments were uncovered from a groupchat with Brandy Melville executives. 

Screenshots from group chats with Marsan and other Brandy Melville executives contained many references to Hitler as well as images and texts mocking Jews, Holocaust victims and some content that was deemed too graphic to publish. 

Brandy Melville CEO Stephen Marsan allegedly refuses to hire Black women.

Marsan reportedly uses images of employees to maintain a beauty standard at the stores. According to one senior vice president, Marsan would order Black employees to be fired if he felt there were too many people of color working in a store.

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Of 32 current and former employees who were interviewed, all of them agreed physical appearance played a role in the company’s hiring and firing process. 

“There was no sugarcoating it,” said one New York regional manager, “It was, ‘She is skinny, white, blond, and pretty. Let’s hire her.’”

Some claimed an employee's pay could be determined solely on her pictures or screenshots from her Instagram. 

The company is currently facing two lawsuits from former employees who say they were pushed out of the company after refusing to comply with practices of racial discrimination. 

One claims he was ordered to shut down a store after being told “there’s only Indians here, there’s only dark people here.”

Often, Black employees are made to work in stock rooms or off-peak hours to avoid having too many Black staff visible to customers, according to the report. 

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"Even if they were the best employees ever, they would only keep the ones that were pretty or mixed" race, a former manager said.

Some employees also reported experiencing inappropriate sexual advances from their higher ups.

One former Brandy Melville manager claims she was sexually assaulted by an executive. 

The most disturbing of the allegations comes from a former manager who says she was sexually assaulted by an Italian executive who is a close friend of Marsan’s family.

She claims he took her out to dinner, she recalls having a drink but remembers little after that.

She says she woke up sick and disoriented in his bed the next morning. He reportedly told her she “wanted it” but she insists she did not recall consenting, nor was she in any fit state to consent.

Medical records show that she received treatment to prevent STIs and HIV after the alleged attack and told a doctor she was raped but didn’t file a police report because “she may lose her working visa.” 

One woman says Longo approached her on her first day of work — she was 18 at the time — and asked her out. 

She says he would continue to come up to her, tickle her or whisper in her ear even after she declined him.

Others says executives would buy them alcohol and flirt with teenage employees. 

The disturbing revelations will has outraged many and may be enough to end the company once and for all. 

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Alice Kelly is a senior news and entertainment editor for YourTango. Based out of Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.