Karl Lagerfeld spouts so many outrageous quotables (hence the quotation collection The World According To Karl) that it’s easy to laugh him off like he’s an elderly aunt with a racist streak. But a fat activist group isn’t taking his recent size-shaming comments lightly. They have launched a defamation suit against the designer over comments he made on a French talk show earlier this month.
The 80-year-old creative director for Chanel blamed overweight people for being a burden on society. “The hole in social security, it’s also [due to] all the diseases caught by people who are too fat,” he said on the October 4 episode of Le Grand 8. He went on to say “no one wants to see curvy women on the runway.”
The French group Belle, Ronde, Sexy et Je M’Assume (Beautiful, Round, Sexy and Owning It) has responded by lodging a defamation suit against Lagerfeld on behalf of plus-sized women. “We’re fed up,” the organization’s president Betty Aubriere told French newspaper Agence France-Presse. “Many young girls are insecure and hearing such comments is terrible for them.”
Whether a defamation suit against a group as broadly defined as overweight women will hold up in a country such as France that prizes free speech remains to be seen, but at least this is an opportunity to draw attention to Lagerfeld’s less endearing eccentricities and hold him accountable for his comments. It’s amazing that a man who understands women so well in his design work can be so out of touch in his own life.