FKA Twigs Denounces ‘Double Standards’ After Calvin Klein Ad Is Banned


Shortly after a British advertising watchdog group ruled that Calvin Klein posters showing the singer FKA twigs with part of her breast exposed “presented her as a stereotypical sexual object” and could not be shown in Britain, the singer denounced “double standards” on Instagram, an apparent reference to a new Calvin Klein campaign featuring the actor Jeremy Allen White.

The Advertising Standards Authority, an industry group created to self-regulate advertising in Britain, issued its decision to ban the ad on Wednesday, nine months after it received two complaints about the poster campaign, which also featured the model and actress Kendall Jenner.

The group found that the image featuring FKA twigs, in which the singer wears a denim shirt draped over one shoulder, leaving much of her body visible, “placed viewers’ focus on the model’s body rather than on the clothing being advertised.”

“The ad used nudity and centered on FKA twigs’s physical features rather than the clothing, to the extent that it presented her as a stereotypical sexual object,” the agency wrote, ultimately concluding that the ad “was irresponsible and likely to cause serious offense.”

FKA twigs rebutted the agency’s characterization on Wednesday. “I do not see the ‘stereotypical sexual object’ that they have labelled me,” she wrote as a caption on the image, a black-and-white photo by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, which she posted on her Instagram account. “I see a beautiful strong woman of colour whose incredible body has overcome more pain than you can imagine.”

The singer, whose representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday, went on to allude to other ads that, in her view, appeared to be getting a pass.

“In light of reviewing other campaigns past and current of this nature,” she continued in the caption, “I can’t help but feel there are some double standards here.”

Many online interpreted her comment as a reference to a new Calvin Klein campaign featuring Mr. White, an actor best known for his role as the high-strung chef Carmy Berzatto on the TV series “The Bear.” In a video released as part of the new campaign, a muscular Mr. White peels off his tank top and shorts before clambering about on a New York rooftop in his underwear, flexing, doing pull-ups and reclining on a couch en plein air.

Toby King, a spokesman for the Advertising Standards Authority, said in an email on Friday that the agency had so far received three complaints about TV and magazine ads featuring Mr. White. Mr. King took pains to emphasize that while the authority was reviewing the complaints, which claim that the ads “sexually objectify” Mr. White, the ads themselves were not currently being investigated.

Mr. King said the authority did not have a timeline for when its consideration of the new ads might be completed. “We try to resolve complaints as quickly as possible,” he wrote, “but we have a duty to make sure our investigations and decisions are thorough and robust.”

The Advertising Standards Authority is responsible for regulating ads in Britain that may be deemed offensive or explicit. Ads are taken down if they use people’s bodies to draw viewers’ attention in a way unrelated to a product or if they sexualize people through gender stereotypes.

Sexually provocative images have long been a part of the Calvin Klein brand identity, from the company’s landmark campaigns in the 1980s and ’90s featuring celebrities like Mark Wahlberg and Brooke Shields to recent blitzes fronted by Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes. In its first Instagram post featuring images from the new Jeremy Allen White campaign, the brand, which did not respond to emails seeking comment on Friday, said the actor was “iconic in Calvin Klein Underwear.”



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