Iconic fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has ignited a controversy after criticizing Angela Merkel's open-borders immigration policies and making reference to the Holocaust on a French television program. The Chanel creative director, 84, was born in Hamburg, Germany, although he resides in Paris.
On the French talk show, Lagerfeld assailed Merkel, the chancellor of Germany and de facto chief executive of the European Union, for allowing more than 1 million Middle Eastern refugees/migrants to enter her country, AFP reported, with implications for anti-Semitism.
"One cannot -- even if there are decades between them -- kill millions of Jews so you can bring millions of their worst enemies in their place."
During the appearance on Salut les Terriens! (Hello Earthlings!) on French channel C8, Lagerfeld also recalled a disturbing anecdote relating to the Nazi genocide against the Jewish people.
"I know someone in Germany who took a young Syrian and after four days said, 'The greatest thing Germany invented was the Holocaust.'"
The French media regulatory agency supposedly received several hundred complaints about what Lagerfeld had to say, which also prompted outrage as well as some support on social media. The agency has yet to launch a formal investigation.
The world-famous designer, who also operates his own fashion label, has previously expressed his dissatisfaction with Merkel's immigration policies.
"Merkel had already millions and millions (of immigrants) who are well integrated and who work and all is well... she had no need to take another million to improve her image as the wicked stepmother after the Greek crisis."
Angela Merkel was reelected in September as Germany's top elected official, but her party fell to its lowest share of the vote since 1949 and is still in the process of attempting to form a coalition government with several smaller parties. In a response to the mass influx of refugees, the populist, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party for the first time won seats in the German parliament, however, and is now a significant player in the country's political structure. Dissatisfaction with Merkel's open-borders policy and the resulting social issues/tensions have also encouraged populist movements all across Europe.
According to the Independent, Germany spent about $23 billion on refugee assistance of various kinds last year.
In an event today in Paris in connection with the launch of a limited edition jewelry line, the typically loquacious Lagerfeld did not discuss the controversy from this weekend's comments about Angela Merkel, the Holocaust, and mass immigration, WWD reported.
[Featured Image by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP Images]