Last weekend, Donna Karen made headlines for her controversial red carpet interview at the 4th Annual Cinéfashion Film Awards in Los Angeles. An interviewer asked her to comment on the recent Harvey Weinstein allegations and she responded with victim blaming explanations.
The DKNY designer, who stepped down as Chief Designer in 2015, said:
“I think we have to look at ourselves. Obviously, the treatment of women all over the world is something that has always had to be identified. Certainly in the country of Haiti where I work, in Africa, in the developing world, it’s been a hard time for women. To see it here in our own country is very difficult.”
She went on to say that women should ask themselves, “How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality? And what are we throwing out to our children today about how to dance and how to perform and what to wear? How much should they show?”
Hollywood immediately erupted in backlash with many celebrities speaking out against Karen and others swearing to never shop at DKNY again. The designer’s comments suggested that women have to examine the role they play in sexual assault which is such a backwards, antiquated way of thinking. Are victims of car burglaries asked, “Are you sure you didn’t want your car to get broken into?” I’m pretty sure they are not.
Since Karen’s comments backfired, she made an effort to apologize and express regret. During a phone call with WWD’s Bridget Foley, Karen said: