Calvin Klein is being accused of "queerbaiting" in new ad featuring Bella Hadid and Lil Miquela

20 May 2019, 16:07 | Updated: 20 May 2019, 16:20

Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe

"Stop using lesbianism to sell your clothing.. we're not garnish for men."

Calvin Klein has issued an apology after being accused of "queerbaiting" following the release of their new ad featuring Bella Hadid and Lil Miquela, the digital model.

According to Urban Dictionary, queerbaiting is the act of hinting at or faking a same-sex relationship in order to attract an LGBTQ+ audience. This can be used with fictional characters in television, movies and books, or by real people.

Last week (May 16), the fashion brand released a 30-second ad featuring Bella and Lil Mequela. The clip begins with Bella standing alone in a CK crop top and shorts, before she's joined by Lil Miquela.

Bella Hadid and Lil Miquela Calvin Klein ad.
Bella Hadid and Lil Miquela Calvin Klein ad. Picture: Instagram:@lilmiquela/YouTube: CALVIN KLEIN

"Life is about opening doors. Creating new dreams that you never knew could exist," a voiceover says, before Bella pulls Lil Miquela in for a kiss.

The ad was posted on YouTube, where the description box reads: "19-year-old robot Lil Miquela blurs the lines of truth and fiction with Bella Hadid. Is this a dream or real?"

While some thought the ad was based on technology, some argued why a LGBTQ+ model wasn't hired for the position and accused the brand of "queerbaiting".

Following the backlash, Calvin Klein issued a statement on Twitter.

It 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. The 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.

"We understand and acknowledge how featuring someone who identifies as heterosexual in a same-sex kiss could be perceived as queerbaiting. As a company with a longstanding tradition of advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, it was certainly not our intention to misrepresent the LGBTQ+ community. We sincerely regret any offense we caused."

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