Famed fashion designer Donna Karan was asked about Harvey Weinstein’s decades-long pattern of sexually harassing women, hours after the disgraced movie mogul was forced out of his own company.
Unlike the dozens of celebrities who have condemned Weinstein and his behaviour, Karan actually came to his defence — and even suggested that the victims of his unwanted sexual advances may have been “asking for it” with their suggestive outfits.
Megyn Kelly spoke out Tuesday on “Today” about Karan’s comments, calling her out for blaming harassment on the victims, and saying she will no longer wear the designer’s clothing.
“Unfortunately, [Karan] is not the only one who apparently thinks this way and it is wrong. It’s seriously wrong. Let’s be perfectly clear right now. Women sometimes make bad fashion choices, including at the office. This does not invite their own harassment. Period. End of report,” Kelly said. “There are laws in this country. Laws. I don’t give a damn if a woman shows up in a bikini to the office, that doesn’t invite or make it okay for her superior to harass her. It makes it okay for her boss to say, ‘go home and change.’ That’s it.”
Kelly went on, adding, “The truth is, sexual harassment has nothing to do with wardrobe. It has to do with power and control and sexual proclivities that a superior chooses not to reign in. How insulting by the way to man as well. Like they are a bunch of animals who can’t behave themselves if a woman shows part of their thigh. Right? This attitude of blaming women for their own harassment is actually one of the reasons why women choose not to come forward after they get harassed because they fear victim shaming. They fear it. They know it’s going to happen. How about we not pile on, Donna.”
“How about we use this moment to encourage women to find their own voices, despite the risks and to stand up for themselves, which the hard enough, without rich, powerful, well-connected fashion moguls lecturing them on their clothing choices,” Kelly continued. “And speaking of fashion choices, here’s one for you. I’m done with Donna Karan.”
In a statement, Karan said her comments “were taken out of context.”
“Last night, I was honoured at the Cinemoi Fashion Film Awards in Hollywood and while answering a question on the red carpet I made a statement that unfortunately is not representative of how I feel or what I believe,” the statement read. “I have spent my life championing women. My life has been dedicated to dressing and addressing the needs of women, empowering them and promoting equal rights.”
Karan’s statement continued: “My statements were taken out of context and do not represent how I feel about the current situation concerning Harvey Weinstein. I believe that sexual harassment is NOT acceptable and this is an issue that MUST be addressed once and for all regardless of the individual.
“I am truly sorry to anyone that I offended and everyone that has ever been a victim,” Karan added.
Karan shocking comments seemingly defending Weinstein came while being interviewed on the carpet by the Daily Mail during Sunday’s CinéFashion Film Awards in L.A.
According to the Mail, Karan told a reporter: “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.”
She continued: “To see it here in our own country is very difficult, but I also think how do we display ourselves? 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?”
Karan added that she knows Weinstein’s wife Georgina Chapman, describing the couple as “wonderful people” and declaring that Weinstein has done “some amazing things.”
“When asked whether Hollywood has been ‘busted’, she replied with a smile: ‘I don’t think it’s only Harvey Weinstein,” reported the Mail.
“I don’t think we’re only looking at him. I think we’re looking at a world much deeper than that,” said Karan. “Yes, I think he’s being looked at right now as a symbol, not necessarily as him. I know his wife, I think they’re wonderful people, Harvey has done some amazing things. I think we have to look at our world and what we want to say and how we want to say it as well.”
Karan concluded: “You look at everything all over the world today and how women are dressing and what they are asking by just presenting themselves the way they do. What are they asking for? Trouble.”
If you’re giving your head a shake after reading Karan’s remarks, you’re not alone. In fact, numerous celebrities took to social media to blast the designer implying Weinstein’s victims were to blame for his unconscionable actions — including Rose McGowan, who describes Karan as “scum in a fancy dress.”
Other celebs to weigh in on Karan’s comments include actress Mia Farrow (who vows, “No more Donna Karan for me”), “Today” Sunday anchor Willie Geist and CNN host/celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain.