Model and actor Cara Delevingne leapt to Karl Lagerfeld’s defense after criticism of him manifested online following his death.
Lagerfeld, the director of Chanel, died on Tuesday (19 February) at the age of 85.
Many celebrities, including Delevingne, took to social media yesterday to remember him and their work with him. Others, however, remembered his fatphobic, misogynistic, and anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Writer Lara Witt wrote a scathing piece for Wear Your Voice magazine, positing: ‘It is time that fashion come to terms with Lagerfeld’s abhorrent comments.’
He once described singer Adele as a ‘little too fat’, though he tried to walk the comments back and said he was actually referring to Lana Del Ray.
In 2017, he also decried his native Germany welcoming refugees and immigrants from Syria.
The Good Place actor Jameela Jamil shared the article, writing she was ‘glad somebody said it’. She then described Lagerfeld as a ‘ruthless, fat-phobic misogynist’.
Delevingne, who frequently worked with Lagerfeld, replied and told Jamil to ‘please keep your opinions to yourself and stop bashing people for attention’.
It’s not about ‘making mistakes’
The pair then engaged in a thorough discussion about Lagerfeld, with Delevingne explaining that she’s grieving while Jamil pointed out the countless women he hurt with his way of thinking.
Jamil criticized Delevingne for chalking his ‘decades of abusive rhetoric’ up to simply being a human who made mistakes.
Delevingne shot back, imploring Jamil to not refer to Lagerfeld as a bad person as they should be focusing on people who are alive and causing damage.
In her response, Jamil made the astute observation that Delevingne, through her privilege of being thin and white, was never a victim of Lagerfeld’s harmful language.
As the discussion continued, Delevingne said Lagerfeld was ‘not the problem’, but rather the world and fashion industry are.
Jamil then brought up Harvey Weinstein. She wrote back that argument is similar to saying Weinstein wasn’t a problem, but Hollywood is.
‘I’m not comparing their actions. I’m saying we can’t blame an individual’s crimes on the industry they work in,’ Jamil replied as Delevingne took offense to the comparison of Weinstein.
Ultimately, Delevingne expressed she was grieving. She also asked Jamil to ‘consider those who are hurting’ and ‘leave some space for that’.
Jamil apologized, but not without bringing up ‘all the people without your privilege who he talked about as if they weren’t human beings with feelings, worthy of any respect’.
Women talking over women?
Jamil took issue with media pitting her and Delevingne against one another. She wrote in a tweet: ‘She could not have been more lovely, polite or empathetic in our completely adult and kind exchange. Stop trying to make women look hysterical as if we are incapable of intelligent discourse.’
Theirs were not the only voices in the conversation, however.
Original author Witt tweeted that the conversation between Jamil and Delevingne was erasure of her work.
‘My labor, and the labor or [sic] other BIWOC [bisexual women of color] goes uncredited too often,’ she wrote.
In response to this criticisim (where there was no credit or tagging Witt), Jamil said she wasn’t taking credit and tweeted out the original article to bring attention it.