Less than an hour after news broke of the death of fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld on Tuesday, animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released a statement that left some people shocked and disgusted.
The press release, sent via email on behalf of PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk – and also distributed on social media – reads: “Karl Lagerfeld has gone, and his passing marks the end of an era when fur and exotic skins were seen as covetable. PETA sends condolences to our old nemesis’s loved ones.”
Karl Lagerfeld defended his right to use furs and exotic animal skins in his designs despite PETA’s repeated protests.
Karl Lagerfeld has gone, and his passing marks the end of an era when fur and exotic skins were seen as covetable. PETA sends condolences to our old nemesis’s loved ones.
– PETA UK (@PETAUK) February 19, 2019
The backlash was just as swift as PETA’s reaction to the death of the 85-year-old icon. UK-based journalist Sali Hughes led the charge.
I’ve just had an absolutely gob smacking press release from PETA. Anyone else? “Karl Lagerfeld has gone, and his passing marks the end of an era when fur and exotic skins were seen as covetable. PETA sends condolences to our old nemesis’s loved ones”. Jesus. Take the day off.
– Sali Hughes (@salihughes) February 19, 2019
Is shade being thrown really necessary when someone has just died? Pretty sure Chanel announced recently they were going to stop using fur and exotic skin? Low blow Peta. ??♀️
– hannah (@hannah61275535) February 19, 2019
PETA is increasingly a masterclass in how not to do PR. Contrary to their ostensible purpose, they make the (otherwise admirable) case for the ethical treatment of animals appear weaker by associating it with their own bizarre, attention-seeking solecisms.
– Citizen of Nowhere (@seamusmccauley) February 19, 2019
Lagerfeld had a long history of using furs as well as crocodile, lizard, snake and stingray skins in the clothing he designed for Chanel, Fendi and his own eponymous label. He was known to staunchly defend this decision. In December, however, Chanel announced it would no longer use fur and exotic animal skins in its designs.
PETA has earned a controversial reputation of its own over the years, becoming notorious for publicity tactics like dressing up in Ku Klux Klan hoods to protest the Westminster Dog Show and comparing animal cruelty to rape, slavery and the Holocaust.