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4 Reasons Why People Hate Karl Lagerfeld — The Met Gala Is Honoring Him Despite His Controversial Legacy

Photo: Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock
Karl Lagerfeld

As celebrities descend upon New York City donning Karl Lagerfeld-inspired designs at The Met Gala, the fashion world's most anticipated night, the dark cloud that is Lagerfeld's legacy looms overhead.

"Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty" is the 2023 Met Gala theme, and while the fashion event seems to have neglected his more troublesome moments, questions are being raised about the many controversies that have caused people to hate Karl Lagerfeld.

With over 65 years in the fashion industry, Lagerfeld made a name for himself through his work with Chanel, Fendi, and Chloé until his death in 2019. The German designer, who died at the age of 85, was also known for his controversial opinions on issues such as sexual assault, race, sexual orientation, and weight.

Almost immediately after the announcement of the theme in October 2022, the backlash began. British Actress Jameela Jamil posted her response to the announcement on Instagram, writing that Lagerfeld “Used his platform in such a distinctly hateful way, mostly towards women, so repeatedly and up until the last years of his life.” She then continued, claiming he lived “showing no remorse, offering no atonement, no apology, no help to groups he attacked... there was no explanation for his cruel outbursts.”

“Sorry, but no. This isn't the 90s. We didn't fight all this s--t just to throw it all away because some white guy made some pretty clothes for people's skinny faves... come on now," Jamil states.

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Here are the three reasons people hate Karl Lagerfeld (and are concerned about him being the theme for the 2023 Met Gala): 

Karl Lagerfeld has a history of fatphobic, anti #MeToo movement, and homophobic comments.

1. Karl Lagerfeld liked women to be skinny

Lagerfeld was quite forthright in that he believed runway models should not be over a size US 2. He said to Focus Magazine in 2009 that “No one wants to see curvy women."

   

   

The designer is also quick to point out when celebs are “too heavy” or look “unhealthy” due to their weight.

When asked about Chanel's responsibility to represent more realistic-looking models as opposed to rail-thin ones, Lagerfeld swept the question under the rug and stated that it would be a “bore” and “ridiculous” to do so.

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2. Lagerfeld spoke out against the #MeToo movement

Lagerfeld has been greatly open about his disapproval of the #MeToo movement since it became increasingly widespread in 2018.

Lagerfeld told Paris-based magazine Numéro in 2018, “I’m fed up with it (#MeToo) ... What shocks me most in all of this are the starlets who have taken 20 years to remember what happened.” The labeled "Dinosaur Misogynist" continued by defending stylist Karl Templer, who was accused of pulling down models' underwear without consent. “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.”

He also allegedly sent flowers to IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn following a sexual assault accusation against him. Lagerfeld insensitively stated “He [Strauss-Kahn] is really charming. He’s fun, he’s great. He’s a sweet guy — as long as you’re not a woman.”

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3. Karl Lagerfeld opposed gay marriage and same-sex parenting 

As a gay man himself, Lagerfeld expressed some shockingly contradicting opinions about the LQBTQ+ community.

He revealed to Vice back in 2010 that he had quite a distaste for gay marriage. He stated “In the 60s they all said we had the right to the difference. And now, suddenly, they want a bourgeois life.”

“For me, it’s difficult to imagine,” Lagerfeld continues, “One of the papas at work and the other at home with the baby. How would that be for the baby? I don’t know.”

4. Lagerfeld has expressed Islamophobic views.

In 2017, the famed designer spoke rather harshly about the ongoing refugee crisis and Germany's decision to open its borders for migrants.

“One cannot – even if there are decades between them – kill millions of Jews so you can bring millions of their worst enemies in their place,” the then 80-year-old designer told a French television show.

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Annabelle Miller is a writer for YourTango based in Connecticut. She covers news, celebrity gossip, and pop culture topics.