CALVIN KLEIN has apologised for “queerbaiting” after campaign video featuring model Bella Hadid kissing popular digital art persona on Instagram, Lil Miquela offended the LGTBQ+ community.
Users called out the video, which garnered more than 160,000 views in less than a week, for exploiting homosexuality to sell products. In a statement posted on Twitter, a spokesperson said the company “understands and acknowledges how featuring someone who identifies as heterosexual in a same-sex kiss could be perceived as queerbaiting.”
However, it said the concept is part of its #MYCALVINS campaign to promote freedom of expression for a wide range of identities, including a spectrum of gender and sexual identities. The response has gotten over 250 likes since.
Here at CALVIN KLEIN, we welcome all types of constructive feedback from our community. We see your comments and we appreciate them. We'd like to offer our thoughts in response to comments on our campaign video featuring Bella Hadid and Lil Miquela. pic.twitter.com/OIcIekyR9K
— CALVIN KLEIN (@CalvinKlein) May 17, 2019
The statement also clarified that the campaign was challenge conventional norms and stereotypes in advertising, and explore the blurred lines between reality and imagination. In the video, Hadid kissed Miquela, a 19-year-old robot.
The voice over in the 30-second video said, “Life is about opening doors. Creating new dreams that you never knew could exist.” Since the video has drawn flak, commentators on YouTube have been split about whether the concerns by the LGTBQ+ community is valid. Marketing has reached out to CALVIN KLEIN for more comments.