Donna Karan has apologised for a second time for comments in which she suggested the women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault had been “asking for it” based on their dress.
The DKNY founder made the controversial comments last week, at the CinéFashion Film Awards in Los Angeles.
Speaking on the red carpet about the Weinstein scandal, Karan, who is friends with Weinstein and his wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, reportedly told the Daily Mail:
“To see it here in our own country is very difficult, but 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?”
Her words were quickly condemned online as an example of victim-blaming.
In a statement last Tuesday, Karan alleged the comments were “taken out of context”.
“My statements were taken out of context and do not represent how I feel about the current situation concerning Harvey Weinstein,” she said.
“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.”
However, in an interview with WWD published on Monday, Karan somewhat changed her tone. The designer apologised “profusely”, saying she “went off on something that [she] shouldn’t have”.
“I was exhausted, I was tired and — [when] it came back to me, I was shocked that I even said this myself,” she said, adding that she regretted her words “so strongly”.
“I think every woman who knows me, and I have [worked for] them in all sizes and all shapes, all I do is want women being free to express themselves. And that has nothing to do with being disrespected, molested and harassed. Absolutely not.”
Karan had attracted significant backlash for her comments last week, with actress Rose McGowan tweeting that the designer was “a deplorable”.
“Aiding and abetting is a moral crime. You are scum in a fancy dress,” McGowan tweeted.
Actress Mia Farrow echoed McGowan’s sentiment, tweeting, “No more Donna Karan for me.”