So, turns out that whole destroying-and-lighting-on-fire-a-$100,000-Birkin-in-the-name-of-'art' was maybe not such a great idea after all.
Photographer/publicity stuntman Tyler Shields set off an internet shit storm yesterday when he posted photos of his girlfriend Francesca Eastwood (who also happens to be Clint Eastwood's daughter) ripping into a $100,000 Birkin bag with a chainsaw, and eventually lighting it on fire. Understandably many people found this photoshoot to be rather insensitive--or downright offensive--at a time when many families are struggling financially.
In fact, according to TMZ, some people were so upset that they even sent death threats to Francesca and Tyler--not that that's a first for the photographer. Shields received similar vitriol when he shot Mischa Barton fondling raw meat, angering animal rights activists, and when he had Glee star Heather Morris made up to look like she'd been punched in the face for a shoot, which many people saw as glamorizing domestic violence. Sounds like a nice dude right?
Despite all the criticism, Shields swears his heart is in the right place. Really. So much so, that in an interview with Art Info, he said he'd donate $100,000 to a family in need. If someone buys his art, that is.
The Birkin photos are for sale. If somebody were to buy — all right, let’s do this. If somebody wants to buy one of the Birkin photos, I will donate $100,000 — not to a charity — but to a family. I will give one family in need $100,000 cash, tax-free.
Asked for more details, Shields says he hasn't quite figured it out yet--mainly because he kind of just made it up on the spot.
I just came up with that right now, so I’m not fully prepared on that. I would select somebody who — my father had a stroke when I was 15, and it became very difficult financially for the family, so I think I would do that. I think I would find a family that someone had a stroke or some type of ailment...So, I’ll find somebody who that just happened to and I will help them out.
Hmm...we'll have to see how that turns out.
As for the abused Birkin in question, Shields says he bought the $100,000 purse out of his own pocket and that he destroyed it because he "wanted to immortalize it." He also said that the bag is still standing, even after being chainsawed and lit on fire--obviously the true test of quality for any handbag.
And for those of you who thought this was just a publicity stunt for Francesca's new reality show, you are so totally wrong. Shields insists the photoshoot and Birkin desecration were done in the name of art--not attention. "We were doing [the photoshoot.] The reality show was just there." Riiight.