Calvin Klein Issues Apology After Accused Of Queer-Baiting

Last week, Calvin Klein premiered an ad featuring a kiss between Bella Hadid and Lil Miquela, an Instagram-famous digital avatar. But comments from fans accusing the brand of queer-baiting has led to the fashion house issuing an apology.

The 30 seconds ad released on May 16th showcased Hadid standing alone in a Calvin Klein crop top and shorts, where she was then joined by Lil Miquela.

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Life is a dream. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 19-year-old robot #LilMiquela blurs the lines of truth and beautiful fiction with #BellaHadid. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ See more on ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @bellahadid with @lilmiquela ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #MYTRUTH #MYCALVINS

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As they turned and faced each other, a voice-over begins: “Life is about opening doors. Creating new dreams that you never knew could exist.” As the audio fades into music, Hadid pulls Lil Miquela in for a kiss, and the camera slowly fades to black. “Nineteen-year-old robot Lil Miquela blurs the lines of truth and fiction with Bella Hadid,” reads CK’s caption on YouTube “Is this a dream or real?”

Some fans focused on the human and avatar kiss…

While some were offended and took to social media to share their thoughts and called it an example queerbaiting.

Calvin Klein issued a statement in response the following day, via Twitter, describing that the concept for their entire #MyCalvins campaign revolves around “freedom of expression” for a wide range of 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.”

The brand’s proceeded to address the backlash. “We understand and acknowledge how featuring someone who identifies as heterosexual in a same-sex kiss could be perceived as queerbaiting,” Calvin Klein wrote. “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.”

What do you think about Calvin Klein’s latest ad? Let us know!