Jameela Jamil condemns decision to honour Karl Lagerfeld with Met Gala theme

Jameela Jamil has condemned the decision to honour Karl Lagerfeld with the theme for the 2023 Met Gala.

Last week, Vogue announced that the theme for the annual event would be: “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty,” with the outlet noting that the accompanying exhibit would “examine the life - and creative legacy - of the late designer, who shaped the face of fashion for more than half a century”.

However, The Good Place star, 36, publicly criticised Vogue’s choice in a post shared to Instagram on Saturday, where she shared a black-and-white portrait of the late designer and wrote: “Nope”.

Jamil then took the opportunity to call out the many instances when the German designer, who died in 2019, spoke in a “distinctly hateful” way, which she acknowledged was “mostly towards women”.

“Karl Lagerfeld is the theme for the entire Met Gala next year. This man... was indeed, supremely talented, but used his platform in such a distinctly hateful way, mostly towards women, so repeatedly and up until the last years of his life, showing no remorse, offering no atonement, no apology, no help to groups he attacked... there was no explanation for his cruel outbursts,” she wrote in the caption.

The actor included “receipts” with the post, noting examples of instances where Lagerfeld, who had worked as the creative director of the French fashion house Chanel, was fatphobic, sexist, and xenophobic.

In the second photo of the album, Jamil included a reference to Lagerfeld’s 2009 interview with German magazine Focus where he claimed that “no one wants to see curvy women.” The series of photos also included examples of the comments Lagerfeld made about women who came forward with their experiences during the Me Too Movement. “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,” he reportedly told Numero in 2018.

Jamil said in her post that she was “well aware” that it would “probably end [her] relationship with Vogue,” before noting that she was “amazed to see the entire Met Gala and all the famous celebrities and models celebrating someone who said this sh*t about women so often”.

In another slide, Jamil included additional comments Lagerfeld made about Me Too, in which he had claimed that he was “fed up with it.” Another post again referenced harmful and fatphobic comments the designer made about “thin models” and “real women”.

Jameela Jamil condemns decision to honour Karl Lagerfeld with Met Gala theme (Jameela Jamil)
Jameela Jamil condemns decision to honour Karl Lagerfeld with Met Gala theme (Jameela Jamil)

“You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly,” Lagerfeld told Focus during the same interview in 2009, according to Vox. “The world of beautiful clothing is about ‘dreams and illusions’”.

The post also included references to Lagerfeld’s anti-immigration comments and his admission that he was not “keen” on gay couples being allowed to adopt.

Jamil included examples of moments Lagerfeld publicly criticised the appearances of public figures such as Pippa Middleton, Adele, and Lana Del Rey as well.

“Those groups were women who were sexually assaulted, the entire Me Too movement, gay couples who wanted to adopt, all fat people, specifically fat women, and some of his greatest harm was against Muslim refugees, and the disgusting way he spoke about people fleeing their homes for fear of their lives,” Jamil continued in the caption. “Why is THIS who we celebrate when there are so many AMAZING designers out there who aren’t bigoted white men?

The actor also questioned what “happened to everyone’s principles and ‘advocacy.”

“You don’t get to stand for justice in these areas, and then attend the celebration of someone who reveled in his own public disdain for marginalised people,” she said, before concluding the post with: “Sorry, but no. This isn’t the 90s. We didn’t fight all this shit just to throw it all away because some white guy made some pretty clothes for people’s skinny faves... come on now.”

Jamil says criticism isn’t about ‘cancel culture,’ but about setting a ‘precedent’ (Jameela Jamil)
Jamil says criticism isn’t about ‘cancel culture,’ but about setting a ‘precedent’ (Jameela Jamil)

Jamil said she chose to make her feelings about Lagerfeld clear because of her political leaning: “One of the many hypocrisies the left is accused of is double standards. This is the exact sort of incident that implies that.”

“Mass outrage when people on the right make fun of Lizzo’s body, or refugees, or Muslims or interfere with gay rights… but when it’s a man who made pretty dresses that liberals like to wear suddenly it’s fingers in the ears and hands over the eyes…?” she continued. “What are we doing? How do we expect to be taken seriously?”

In response to Jamil’s post, many of her followers agreed with her sentiments while others noted that they were not aware of the late designer’s highly controversial past.

“Wow. Did not know this. Holy sh*t,” comedian and writer Phoebe Robinson wrote, while another person commented: “Had no idea and am so grateful to you for shedding light and speaking out!”

The Independent has contacted Vogue for comment.