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
"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.
"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".
Never in my life did I think I would have to be mad about “Artificial Intelligence Queer Baiting” pls someone unplug me from the simulation https://t.co/GeRh5LX8PA— Aida Osman 🇪🇷 (@shutupaida) May 16, 2019
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
There are plenty of real LGBTQ Models that could have been used. #noexcuse— Hillary Halsten (@hills02) May 17, 2019
Following the backlash, Calvin Klein issued a statement on Twitter.
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
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."