PETA Faces Backlash For ‘Insensitive’ Remarks About Karl Lagerfeld’s Death

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Not even an hour after it was reported that fashion industry icon Karl Lagerfeld passed away at 85, PETA’s president Ingrid Newkirk issued a statement in a press release and on Twitter, according to People.

“Karl Lagerfeld has gone, and his passing marks the end of an era when fur and exotic skins were seen as covetable. PETA sends condolences to our old nemesis’s loved ones.”

Not long after the statement was posted, Twitter users bashed the organization for using Lagerfeld’s death as part of their anti-fur crusade, calling the remarks “cold,” “cruel,” and “appalling.”

In light of the criticisms, PETA responded that the remarks were honest and genuine condolences in a statement to People.

“Perhaps you did not realize that I am almost 70 [years old], almost of the same generation as Mr. Lagerfeld, and that while I didn’t design it, I wore fur for years,” Newkirk says. “Hence, there is nothing snarky in the remark that those times have passed. Grief, with which I am familiar, is real, and so our condolences for anyone who loved and lost someone are too, regardless of that person’s opposing position on fur. Slamming PETA expresses the commenters’ nastiness: PETA expressed none.”

PETA regularly condemned Lagerfeld for his use of fur, crocodile, lizard and snake skins, which he supported and defended. PETA tried and failed to pie him in the face at a New York fashion premiere in 2001, hitting Calvin Klein instead.

In a 2009 BBC interview, he said that discussing fur was childish in a world that ate meat, carried leather handbags, and wore leather shoes and clothes. PETA spokespersons said Lagerfeld was delusional with a kill-or-be-killed mentality.

“When was the last time a person’s life was threatened by a mink or rabbit?”

Lagerfeld did not wear fur and hardly ate meat.

Lagerfeld used fake fur in his 2010 Chanel collection, prompting PETA to respond on its website that it was a triumph because fake fur had changed so much and became so great that now you could hardly see a difference.

He said during a 2007 People interview that he believed fur should be obtained in a humane way. Lagerfeld said hated the idea of killing animals, but if done, it should be in the nicest possible manner.

“But what is legal and what people make a living off has to be respected, I’m very sorry. Change the laws first, but don’t behave like terrorists,” he added.