Donna Karan suggests Harvey Weinstein victims may have been 'asking for trouble'

'Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?' says fashion designer

Maya Oppenheim
Tuesday 10 October 2017 10:14
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McGowan, one of Weinstein’s accusers, hit out at Karan for her remarks
McGowan, one of Weinstein’s accusers, hit out at Karan for her remarks

Donna Karan has leapt to the defence of Harvey Weinstein and argued his alleged victims might have been “asking for it” by their choice of dress.

Weinstein was fired from the film company he co-founded on Sunday after a slew of sexual harassment allegations were made against him.

The famous Hollywood film producer had been on a leave of absence after the New York Times published a report that detailed acts of alleged harassment towards a number of women, including actors Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan.

But Karan, who is a friend of Weinstein’s, has now insisted the producer is “wonderful”. The fashion designer told the Daily Mail women need to consider if the way they dress could indicate they are “asking for it”.

“I think we have to look at ourselves,” the creator of DKNY said on the red carpet at the CinéFashion film awards in Los Angeles.

“Obviously, the treatment of women all over the world is something that has always had to be identified. Certainly in the country of Haiti where I work, in Africa, in the developing world, it’s been a hard time for women."

She added: “I also think how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?”

The designer claimed women who dressed provocatively were asking for trouble.

“You look at everything all over the world today and how women are dressing and what they are asking by just presenting themselves the way they do. What are they asking for? Trouble.”

Karan referred to Weinstein and his wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman, as “wonderful people” and said he has done “amazing things”.

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She said: “I don’t think we’re only looking at him. I think we’re looking at a world much deeper than that.”

McGowan, one of Weinstein’s accusers, hit out at Karan for her remarks and argued she was “scum in fancy dress”.

“Donna Karan you are a DEPLORABLE aiding and abetting is a moral crime. You are scum in a fancy dress,” she wrote on Twitter.

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“Donna Karan just single-handedly ruined her career and any chance of being respected as a champion of women's causes ever again. Wow,” said Sarah Wynter.

But Karan has now come forward to claim that her comments, which were recorded on tape, were taken out of context.

She said: "While answering a question on the red carpet I made a statement that unfortunately is not representative of how I feel or what I believe.

"I have spent my life championing women. My life has been dedicated to dressing and addressing the needs of women, empowering them and promoting equal rights.

"My statements were taken out of context and do not represent how I feel about the current situation concerning Harvey Weinstein.

"I believe that sexual harassment is NOT acceptable and this is an issue that MUST be addressed once and for all regardless of the individual. I am truly sorry to anyone that I offended and everyone that has ever been a victim."

Weinstein's actions have been condemned by his friends Meryl Streep and Judi Dench.

Streep labelled the alleged sexual harassment by Weinstein “disgraceful,” “inexcusable,” and an “abuse of power.”

Dench, who first worked with Weinstein back in 1997, said: "I was completely unaware of these offenses which are, of course, horrifying, and I offer my sympathy to those who have suffered, and wholehearted support to those who have spoken out".

Weinstein has issued an apology and said he is going to get therapy. His lawyers say the New York Times story is “saturated with false and defamatory statements” and relies “on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report”.

In a statement to the Times last week Weinstein said: “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.”

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