NEWS
19/05/2019 11:07 PM AEST

Calvin Klein Apologizes Amid 'Queerbaiting' Criticism Over Bella Hadid And Robot Ad

The brand's ad featured the model kissing a robot named Miquela.

Calvin Klein has issued an apology over criticism that one of its recent ads, featuring model Bella Hadid and a robot, was an example of “queerbaiting.”

In a statement published on Twitter Friday, the clothing brand addressed backlash it received for featuring Hadid kissing a robot called Miquela ― which has its own Instagram page ― in a video for an ad campaign.

Calvin Klein acknowledged that featuring Hadid, “someone who identifies as heterosexual,” in a “same-sex kiss” could be interpreted as queerbaiting, an exploitative tactic used to tease a queer romance to draw viewers in without any intention of fully developing or representing LGBTQ people and relationships. 

“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 offense we caused,” the statement said.

The brand also noted in its statement that the video was intended to “promote freedom of expression for a wide range of identities, including a spectrum of gender and sexual identities.”

A representative for Hadid didn’t immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment. 

Madison Malone Kircher, an associate editor at New York Magazine, called the ad tone-deaf on Twitter Thursday, while sarcastically noting it was released just a few weeks before Pride Month.

“Who is gonna tell Calvin Klein you’re supposed to wait until June for your tone-deaf queer-bait ad campaigns!!” she wrote. “Lil miquela and bella hadid out here smooching two weeks too early!!!