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Donna Karen Apologizes for Harvey Weinstein Comments

Former DKNY Chief Designer Apologizes

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:

“It was not what I meant. I [so regret] that that came out of my mouth because, as I was avoiding Harvey, and I am really, really apologetic. I have been dressing women for 40 years and I show their sensuality, I have done it in my advertising campaign, I have shown it as a mother, as a grandmother, as a woman, [I’ve shown] her legs and her hosiery and her bras and her fragrance. And I have always had men and women together.”
“For any woman who has been attacked in any way possible. I think these women have been incredibly courageous to be dealing with this. These are iconic women. These are women we all love. These are women that are inspirational to us, certainly to me as a woman. I want to tell them how sorry I am that they have been subjected to this vile behavior. And I will support them on their long road ahead. This is not going to be easy for any one of them.”
While the designer’s apology is definitely a step in the right direction, only time will tell if the public’s opinion of her will change and if it will affect DKNY’s sales.

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