Wednesday 17 January 2018

Donna Karan said she was 'confused' when she said women were 'asking for it' in defence of Weinstein

Designer Donna Karan attends
Designer Donna Karan attends "Baby It's Cold Outside" - The 2016 Revlon Holiday Concert for The Rainforest Fund Gala at JW Marriott Essex House on December 14, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
Designer Donna Karan attends the 69th Annual Parsons Benefit at Pier 60 on May 22, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for The New School)
Donna Karan attends the 2016 Angel Ball hosted by Gabrielle's Angel Foundation For Cancer Research on November 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Gabrielle's Angel Foundation)

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Donna Karan has insisted she was "confused" when she first made controversial comments over the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

The American fashion designer came under fire when she appeared to defend the film producer, who is currently undergoing an investigation after being accused of sexual assault and harassment by a number of women, including actresses Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow.

When first questioned about Weinstein's behaviour at the CineFashion Film Awards last week, Karan said some women are "asking for trouble" with the way they dress and described the movie mogul and his fashion designer wife, Georgina Chapman, who has now split from her husband, as "wonderful" people.

"You look at everything all over the world today and how women are dressing and what they are asking by just presenting themselves the way they do," Karan told the Daily Mail. "What are they asking for? Trouble."

Donna Karan attends the 2016 Angel Ball hosted by Gabrielle's Angel Foundation For Cancer Research on November 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Gabrielle's Angel Foundation)
Donna Karan attends the 2016 Angel Ball hosted by Gabrielle's Angel Foundation For Cancer Research on November 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Gabrielle's Angel Foundation)

"To see it here in our own country is very difficult, but I also think, how do we display ourselves?" Karan continued. "How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?"

Her comments angered people, including actress Rose McGowan - one of the women named in The New York Times expose of Weinstein's reported sexual misconduct - and after apologising for her words again, Karan has now explained how she came about her answer.

Quizzed by WWD on what she was asked on the red carpet that day, she replied, "What did I think about what happened to Harvey. And I was confused by the question. I mean, I hadn't been paying attention to any of the news, and you hear little stories here and a little story there. And quite honestly, it wasn't my place to say anything. Sometimes the press can kind of gear you on, and I didn't feel it was appropriate."

When a reporter pointed out that Karan did comment on the accusations despite claiming she wasn't the right person to address the allegations, the 69-year-old insisted she spoke in general terms and that harassment is unacceptable under any terms.

"Because I heard a little bit of rumour," she added. "It was not like I had heard the entire story. It was like a complete rumour that I had heard and I didn't want to comment on it. So I kind of weaved my way around it. I know Georgina, I know Harvey, and I didn't think it was appropriate for me to be commenting on it, so I wiggled my way out of it. However, what I did comment on was sexual harassment."

Weinstein was fired from The Weinstein Company, the firm he co-founded, following the flurry of sex assault allegations made against him in the original Times article.

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