The fashion brand has been slammed for “using lesbianism” to sell clothing

By

Robyn Merrett

May 17, 2019 10:28 PM

Calvin Klein is facing intense backlash from the LGBTQ community for an ad that features Bella Hadid kissing a female robot-influencer Lil Miquela.

In the ad titled “Bella Hadid and Lil Miquela Get Surreal,” the latest video for the fashion brand’s “I Speak My Truth in #MyCalvins” campaign — Hadid, 22, can be heard saying, “Life is opening doors’ as she caresses Miquela’s face.

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She continues with “Creating new dreams that you never knew could exist,” before the two share a long kiss.

The model and the robot then stare at each other until the light dims and the screen fades to black.

Although the campaign’s goal was to capture the essence of individuality and expression, viewers grew outraged, accusing Calvin Klein of “queer-bating.”

“Who is gonna tell Calvin Klein you’re supposed to wait until June for your tone-deaf queer-bait campaigns!! Lil Miquela and Bella Hadid out here smooching two weeks too early!!!”

Queer-baiting refers to the marketing technique in which creators use queer sexuality in a teasing surface level way rather than embracing it to get attention and make money.

“The Calvin Klein ad where Bella Hadid makes out with Lil Miquela… 1. Stop using lesbianism to sell your clothing… we’re not garnish for me. 2. Should have been me,” another user expressed.

Calvin Klein has since apologized for the ad explaining, “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.”

who is gonna tell Calvin Klein you're supposed to wait until June for your tone-deaf queer-bait ad campaigns!! lil miquela and bella hadid out here smooching two weeks too early!!!

— Madison Malone Kircher (@4evrmalone) May 16, 2019

The Calvin Klein ad where Bella Hadid makes out with Lil Miquela…

1. Stop using lesbianism to sell your clothing.. we’re not garnish for men

2. Should have been me

— Berkin Koluglu (@koluglu) May 16, 2019

"Life is about" what? This is a total queer bait …
Bella Hadid kisses Lil Miquela in new Calvin Klein commercial … https://t.co/FYbQMvoPwY

— Ottavio (@OttavioGM) May 17, 2019

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

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“This 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 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.”

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Alongside the statement, the brand wrote, “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.”

Hadid did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

The ad remains online.

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