German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who died in 2019, worked in fashion for nearly 70 years and was a creative director at Chanel, Chloé, Fendi, and his own signature brand, according to CNBC. Undoubtedly, Lagerfeld has an impressive fashion legacy, but many don’t think that’s enough of a reason to have a night to celebrate him considering the controversies he was surrounded by while alive. One critic tweeted of the Met Gala news, “We should not be celebrating a person who made fatphobic, racist, and sexist comments throughout his career.” One seemed to hope the whole thing was fake, and yet another came up with what they felt would be a more fitting theme: “Karl Lagerfeld — Someone who reveled in his own public disdain for marginalized people.”
On Instagram, actor and activist Jameela Jamil posted about the situation, saying Lagerfeld “used his platform [in] such a distinctly hateful way, mostly towards women, so repeatedly and up until the last years of his life.” She added, “Why is THIS who we celebrate when there are so many AMAZING designers out there who aren’t bigoted white men?” Jamil then included a slideshow of screenshots from various publications that detailed some of Lagerfeld’s behavior: he was a critic of the #MeToo movement, thought models should always be rail thin, and he was anti-refugee.
It seems to come down to whether one can or should separate the art from the artist. No public response to the backlash from Anna Wintour or Vogue as of yet.
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