Donna Karan Sparks Controversy By Defending Harvey Weinstein

donna karan

by Rebecca Cope |

Fashion designer Donna Karan has angered many over comments she has made defending disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein. Coming to the defence of her friend, she placed blame on the women involved, even implying that they might have deserved their treatment.

‘I think we have to look at ourselves,” she said while at the CinéFashion film awards in Los Angeles. ‘Obviously, the treatment of women all over the world is something that has always had to be identified. Certainly in the country of Haiti where I work, in Africa, in the developing world, it’s been a hard time for women.’

‘I also think how do we display ourselves?’ she continued. ‘How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality? You look at everything all over the world today and how women are dressing and what they are asking by just presenting themselves the way they do. What are they asking for? Trouble.’

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Her comments have sparked controversy, with many calling for a boycott of her eponymous designer label, including actress and activist Mia Farrow.

Actress Rose McGowan, who herself received a payout of $100,000 from the producer after an incident in a hotel room in 1997, was quick to fire back at Karan, calling her ‘deplorable’ and ‘scum in fancy dress’. In 2016, McGowan spoke cryptically of a studio head who had raped her, with many now questioning whether or not she was alluding to Weinstein.

Last Thursday, the New York Times printed an expose alleging Weinstein’s long-standing abuse of power in Hollywood, with Oscar-winner Ashley Judd being one of the women who spoke to the paper about how he invited her to his hotel room and asked her to massage him or watch him shower. Since then, Hollywood has been slow to react, but now more and more are adding their voices to the condemnation of the disgraced mogul, including Meryl Streep, Lena Dunham, George Clooney, Mark Ruffalo and Romala Garai, who said a similar thing had happened to her as a teenager. He has since been forced to step down from his position at his eponymous company, after first stating he would be taking a leave of absence and admitting her had ‘caused a lot of pain’. He is married to designer Georgina Chapman and has five children.

For her part, Karan has back-pedalled, saying that her comments were taken out of context.

'While answering a question on the red carpet I made a statement that unfortunately is not representative of how I feel or what I believe,' she said. 'I have spent my life championing women. My life has been dedicated to dressing and addressing the needs of women, empowering them and promoting equal rights. My statements were taken out of context and do not represent how I feel about the current situation concerning Harvey Weinstein.'

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