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Calvin Klein recently found itself in hot water after releasing an ad campaign that features supermodel Bella Hadid making out with female robot Lil Miquela. The video advertisement — which was intended to showcase the expression of various identities across the gender and sexuality spectrum — was accused of "queer-baiting" viewers.
In the 30-second clip, a narrator says: "Life is opening doors. Creating new dreams that you never knew could exist." Meanwhile, Hadid grabs Miquela's face and begins kissing her, before the screen dims to black and highlights the Calvin logo.
As Bella is in a heterosexual relationship with The Weeknd, many believed the ad queer-baited consumers simply for the sake of profits. "Stop using lesbianism to sell your clothing," wrote one Twitter user, while another mocked the campaign's tag line: "'Life is about' what? This is a total queer bait."
The Calvin Klein ad where Bella Hadid makes out with Lil Miquela...— Berkin Koluglu (@koluglu) May 16, 2019
1. Stop using lesbianism to sell your clothing.. we’re not garnish for men
2. Should have been me
"Life is about" what? This is a total queer bait ...— Ottavio (@OttavioGM) May 17, 2019
Bella Hadid kisses Lil Miquela in new Calvin Klein commercial ... https://t.co/FYbQMvoPwY
Following the backlash, Calvin Klein issued an apology via social media on Friday afternoon. “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,” the brand explained. “This specific campaign was created to challenge conventional norms and stereotypes in advertising.
Here at CALVIN KLEIN, we welcome all types of constructive feedback from our community. We see your comments and we appreciate them. We'd like to offer our thoughts in response to comments on our campaign video featuring Bella Hadid and Lil Miquela. pic.twitter.com/OIcIekyR9K— CALVIN KLEIN (@CalvinKlein) May 17, 2019
"In this particular video, we explored the blurred lines between reality and imagination,” they continued their message, adding: “We understand and acknowledge how featuring someone who identifies as heterosexual in a same-sex kiss could be perceived as queer-baiting. As a company with a longstanding tradition of advocating for LGTBQ+ rights, it was certainly not our intention to misrepresent the LGTBQ+ community. We sincerely regret any offense we caused.”
While their apology seems sincere, the advertisement still remains online.