Fashion label Calvin Klein has come under fire after a video campaign featuring model Bella Hadid and a female robot Lil Miquela was deemed as queerbaiting. The 30-second ad shows Hadid kissing the robot, which has upset many critics, who have reprimanded the label for not using a queer model instead of using an openly heterosexual one for the particular promotion. "There are plenty of real LGBTQ Models that could have been used," said one of the critics.
CK has since posted a statement on their social media, claiming they "welcome all types of constructive feedback from our community," further adding that the concept of the ad was to promote freedom of expression and a host of sexual and gender identities. The statement read, "The concept for our latest #MYCALVINS campaign is to promote freedom of expression for a wide range of identities, including a spectrum of gender and sexual identities. This specific campaign was created to challenge conventional norms and stereotypes in advertising. In this particular video, we explored the blurred lines between reality and imagination."
The ad, which was shared with the caption, "19-year-old robot Lil Miquela blurs the lines of truth and fiction with Bella Hadid. "Is this a dream or real?" the video begins with the voiceover and Hadid waiting for Lil Miquela. The voiceover continues, "Life is about opening doors... Creating new dreams you never knew could exist." The video shows them kissing at this point, leaving many viewers confused as to how CK pulled this off. Many compared the ad to a 'Black Mirror' episode, while others wondered how Lil Miquela went from "an Instagram conspiracy to a Calvin Klein model."
However, what agitated the queer community was why Hadid was hired for the job that could have been executed perfectly by any other model who identifies as LGBTQ+. This is not the first time a member of the Hadid family earned the wrath of the LGBT+ community. Bella's older sister Gigi Hadid and boyfriend Zayn Malik were blasted online after Vogue claimed that the young couple was gender fluid just because they wear each other's clothes.
The comments that came in response to the Vogue cover ranged from "Zayn and Gigi are profiled in this piece on gender fluidity because... they borrow each other's clothes sometimes?" to "Where is Zayn's skirt?". Vogue too, went on to apologize for their apparent insensitivity, clarifying that their intention was to "highlight the impact the gender-fluid, non-binary communities have had on fashion and culture."
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