Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld said that if models don’t want to be groped, they should “join a nunnery”
Since it began to take hold in fall 2017, the #MeToo movement has made a difference in the way many people think about sexual harassment and assault. But sadly, not everyone is on board with the movement. One of those opposed is Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, who recently criticized models who speak out against groping in the industry.
In an April 12th interview with the magazine Numéro, Lagerfeld said that he was “fed up” with the #MeToo movement. The designer contended that he didn’t believe the accusations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein and that he was surprised that the 84 women accusing Weinstein “have taken 20 years to remember what happened.” He then complained that asking models for their consent before posing them was “too much.”
“I read somewhere that now you must ask a model if she is comfortable with posing,” Lagerfeld said in the interview. “It’s simply too much, from now on, as a designer, you can’t do anything.”
Lagerfeld also came to the defense of the stylist Karl Templer, who has been accused of groping models and pulling down their underwear, and dismissed the allegations as models being overly sensitive.
"If you don't want your pants pulled about, don't become a model!" Lagerfeld told Numéro. "Join a nunnery, there'll always be a place for you in the convent."
Rose McGowan, one of the #MeToo movement’s fiercest proponents, slammed Lagerfeld for his comments in an April 15th tweet.
"Karl, your cruelty is tired. You've made so much money off of women's insecurities," McGowan wrote. "Time to ride off into the victim shaming [sic] sunset."
Lagerfeld has a reputation for making inflammatory comments. In 2012, the designer called Adele “a little too fat.” In 2016, he blamed Kim Kardashian for being robbed. And in November 2017, he criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her plan to allow more refugees into Germany, referring to refugees as Jews’ “worst enemies.”
Given Lagerfeld’s history, we’re not entirely surprised by his latest comments. That being said, his remark that women should join a convent to avoid groping are infuriating. The fact that Lagerfeld is willing to defend Weinstein against the word of 84 women shows just how stigmatized survivors of sexual harassment are. It’s clear that we still have a long way to go in the fight against sexual harassment and assault. We need to believe those who come forward.