Karl Lagerfeld's Problematic Comments on #MeToo

By:Madi Carpenter

Last month, Numéro Magazine sat down for an exclusive interview with Chanel's creative director, Karl Lagerfeld. The conversation stretched over a mass of different topics, but Lagerfeld's comments on the #MeToo movement seemed to shock everyone. His quick retort to the interviewer's questions was hard to believe, especially with Lagerfeld being at the top of the fashion food chain. Being no stranger to speak his mind, Lagerfeld did not think twice before slamming the #MeToo movement and saying he has had enough. 

Photo: The Guardian

When asked about the movement, Lagerfeld responded by saying, "I'm fed up with it. I don't even eat pig (in France, the movement is known as #BalanceTonPorc). What is most shocking in all of this is that the starlets have taken 20 years to remember what happened. Not to mention the face that there are no prosecution witnesses." 

Lagerfeld was also asked if the movement had affected the way he worked, given that the fashion industry is plagued with sexual assault cases, and was quick to deny any such notion. "Absolutely not, " he said. "I read somewhere that now you must ask a model if she is comfortable with posing. It's simply too much, from now on, as a designer, you can't do anything. As for the accusations against the poor Karl Templar (creative director of Interview magazine), I don't believe a single word of it. A girl complained he tried to pull her pants down and he instantly excommunicated from a profession that up until then had venerated him. It's unbelievable. If you don't want your pants pulled about, don't become a model! Join a nunnery, there'll always be a place for you in the convent. They're recruiting even!" 

Photo: The Guardian

With all of Lagerfeld's comments being so disturbing, it is important to analyze why this is so problematic. In an industry as fast-paced as fashion, it's important for brands, magazines, publications and agencies to protect the men and women they work with. In a post-Harvey Weinstein world, most have become more vigilant with how they handle situations depicted by #MeToo. 

Recently, Vogue introduced a new code of conduct that specifically protects their employees from harassment with behavioral guidelines for partners along with many other copies following suit. Although the interest may be in saving face, it still provides defense and awareness that was long overdue, so it is extremely concerning for a man like Karl Lagerfeld to directly state that this cultural shift has had no effect on the way he runs his multi-billion dollar business. 

This significant disregard by Lagerfeld could lead to any of the employees under the Chanel brand to interpret this as a green light to do whatever they want without fear of consequences. Lagerfeld's interview resulted in the most regressive comments seen from an executive with such magnitude and it unclear whether or not there will be consequences.