Amid the countless tributes pouring in for Karl Lagerfeld after his death on Tuesday at age 85, “The Good Place” actress Jameela Jamil pointed out the famed Chanel designer’s extended history of “abusive rhetoric.”
“A ruthless, fat-phobic misogynist shouldn’t be posted all over the internet as a saint gone-too-soon. Talented for sure, but not the best person,” Jamil tweeted while linking to an article by Lara Witt of Wear Your Voice magazine.
Model Cara Delevingne, one of Lagerfeld’s longtime muses and close friends, took issue with Jamil for criticizing the designer right after his death.
She asked the actress to “move forward and lead with love,” which Jamil respectfully disagreed with, saying the designer “hurt a lot of people.”
“It saddens me deeply that anyone was hurt, that I do not condone. It is not possible to go through life without hurting people,” Delevingne tweeted in response. “He was not a saint, he is a human being like all of us who made mistakes and we should all have the chance to be forgiven for that.”
Jamil had the perfect retort for Delevingne and anyone else attempting to defend the late designer’s verbal lashings and backward thinking.
“We can’t chalk decades of abusive rhetoric towards minorities as ‘being human’ or ‘making mistakes,’” the actress wrote.
“Doing it once as a joke and then apologizing is one thing, doing it again and again in spite of public outcry is a bad human. I’m sorry to speak ill of someone you love.”
Delevingne attempted to deflect Jamil’s comments once again, but the “Good Place” star had another spot-on comeback that checked the model’s privilege.
“But cara, his cruel words weren’t directed at you because you’re thin, and white, and incredibly privileged,” Jamil wrote. “So you don’t feel the pain of his bad behavior. There is never a good time to talk about this really. So much glory to someone who punched down, frequently.”
Jamil also pointed out that Delevingne might not be so forgiving if the designer had been “notoriously wildly homophobic,” as the model has been open about her sexual fluidity.
However, Delevingne continued to say that Lagerfeld was “not the problem,” blaming it on “The way the world is... and the way the industry has been for a long time. It’s time for change and I agree with that.”
The “Good Place” actress wasn’t having it.
The two didn’t reach an agreement, but they sparked an important discussion among their followers and many others on the internet.
Lagerfeld was indeed a fashion genius, regarded by many as “one of the most hardworking figures in the fashion world” as he worked with Fendi, Chanel and his own namesake brand. But he was also known as “Kaiser Karl” for a reason.
In a 2009 interview, Lagerfeld infamously said that “no one wants to see curvy women.” He called Adele “a little too fat” and in the same 2012 interview with Metro, said that “Nobody wants Greece to disappear, but they have really disgusting habits ― Italy as well” and “If I was a woman in Russia I would be a lesbian, as the men are very ugly.”
The designer once referred to Kim Kardashian as “not super slim” and blamed the reality star for getting bound and robbed by masked intruders at her hotel in Paris.
He described Princess Diana as “pretty” and “sweet,” but added that she “was stupid” during an interview with New York Magazine in 2006. The Chanel couturier also said that Pippa Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister, “should only show her back” because he didn’t like her face.
Lagerfeld also had horrible things to say about refugees, telling a French TV show in 2017, “I know someone in Germany who took a young Syrian and after four days said: ‘The greatest thing Germany invented was the Holocaust.’”
Just last year, the designer said that he was “fed up” with the Me Too movement and scolded models who complained about being groped.
“I read somewhere that now you must ask a model if she is comfortable with posing,” said Lagerfeld, then 84, told the magazine Numero. “It’s simply too much, from now on, as a designer, you can’t do anything.”
He added, “It’s unbelievable. 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. They’re recruiting even!”