The Death of an “Icon”

When someone passes away it’s natural for people to bring up memories from their life, even if they aren’t good. This leaves us with the question, when does it go too far?  On February 19th, Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director of Chanel, passed away from pancreatic cancer. Many celebrities and models took to social media to pay their condolences to Lagerfeld. Model Cara Delevingne received backlash from her sentimental Instagram and Twitter posts because some users believed that Lagerfeld shouldn’t be remembered in a positive light.


Lagerfeld has been accused of being transphobic, racist, sizeist and against the #MeToo Movement. In response to the presence of Muslim migrants in Germany, Lagerfeld said on a French broadcasting channel in 2017, “You cannot kill millions of Jews and then take in millions of their worst enemies afterwards, even if there are decades between the two events.” This received hundreds of complaints from viewers calling him Islamophobic. In 2018, Lagerfeld gave his reaction to the #MeToo Movement in Número magazine saying,“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.” In a 2009 issue of the German magazine Focus Lagerfeld said, “No one wants to see curvy women.” These are just a few of the many offensive comments that people brought up the day of his death.


People on social media came to Lagerfeld’s defense saying that it was just too soon to bring up words from his past. One of those people was, again, Cara Delevingne, who said “All of these things should have been addressed while someone is living, not the day after someone’s death.” It’s understandable to be upset when people are recognizing the negative over the positive when someone passes away, but can you blame them? On the day of his death, the only people who responded empathetically were the models who fit his vision or people who his words didn’t affect. What the models and defenders of Lagerfeld don’t realize is that his artistry will be remembered and inspire others, but you simply can’t define someone as an icon who discriminated against a majority of the human population.  


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