(JTA) — Fashion designer Donna Karan defended Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein by suggesting women who dress provocatively are “asking for it.”
Weinstein’s other famous female friends Meryl Streep and Judi Dench condemned the film producer over a series of recent sexual harassment allegations against him.
The board of the Weinstein Company fired Weinstein, its co-founder, Sunday after it said it learned of new information about his behavior. Weinstein was already on a leave of absence after The New York Times last week published a report detailing his alleged harassment of a number of women, including actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan.
But in a red carpet interview with the Daily Mail Sunday at the CinéFashion film awards in Los Angeles, Karan said women should consider what message they are sending with their wardrobe choices.
“I think we have to look at our world and what we want to say and how we want to say it. It’s not Harvey Weinstein, you look at everything all over the world today, you know how women are dressing, and what they are asking, by just presenting themselves they way they do. What are they asking for? Trouble.”
Karan also described Weinstein and his wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman, as “wonderful people” and said he has done “amazing things”.
“I don’t think we’re only looking at him. I think we’re looking at a world much deeper than that.”
Karan, who founded the women’s fashion powerhouse DKNY, is one of the first people to publicly defend Weinstein since the allegations were reported.
McGowan responded to Karan’s comments by calling her “scum in a fancy dress.” Other Hollywood actresses, including Mia Farrow and Sarag Wynter, also spoke out against Karan’s remarks.
Karan said Monday night that her words were taken out of context.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
In response to the allegations, Weinstein has apologized and said he plans to get help, but he has also threatened to sue The Times for defamation.