Calvin Klein Says Whoops!

Calvin Klein just apologised for its odd Bella Hadid and Lil Miquela Campaign.

Screenshot from YouTube

Last week, Calvin Klein debuted a controversial new video in which supermodel Bella Hadid appears to make out with the computer-generated influencer, Lil Miquela.

The ad was part of the brand’s #MYTRUTH campaign, which was photographed by Mario Sorrenti. The campaign also features Pose actress Indya Moore and musical artists Troye Sivan, A$AP Rocky and Billie Eilish.

“The concept for our latest #MYCALVINS campaign was to promote freedom of expression for a wide range of identities, including a spectrum of gender and sexual identities,” the brand wrote in a statement, shared on Twitter Friday night. “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.”

In a world where meaningful representation of LGBTQ+ people is still not the norm. To some, the “blurred lines” in this campaign read as a harmful example of “queerbaiting”, or the act of alluding to queer relationships without actually depicting them. But to Calvin it has always been about controversy.

“CK’s ad borrows sexuality for clickbait, othering queerness as “surreal” (and combining it with the added virtual human gimmick) as engagement-driving content,” wrote Emma Hope Allwood for Dazed. Allwood added that the campaign “makes a spectacle of lesbian sexuality, inauthentically using the image of it to appear progressive and sell a product without actually representing the community.”

Calvin Klein is known for its provocative ad campaigns, especially when it comes to exhibitions of sexuality.

“We understand and acknowledge how featuring someone who identifies as heterosexual in a same-sex kiss could be perceived as queerbaiting,” Calvin Klein added in its statement. “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 offence we caused.”