When Calvin Klein released the most recent advertisements for its spring 2016 global campaign, we were the first to admit that the brand pushed the envelope of provocativeness much further than what we've seen in the past. (The best way we can describe it is, uh, "insanely sexual.") And while the campaign has certainly garnered heavy attention and online traffic, one particular image faces criticism — as well as a request for removal from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE).
The ad in question features Klara Kristin in what's recognized as an "upskirt" shot. (Women who travel on city public transport are disappointingly all too familiar with this situation.) According to the NCOSE, the image, shot by female photographer Harley Weir, continues to normalize and glamorize sexual harassment. Executive Director Dawn Hawkins has provided the following statement:
"Once again, Calvin Klein has used a depiction of sexual harassment or assault in its advertisements. The American fashion house has continued to stand by its most recent ad campaign, not-so-subtly entitled Erotica [Ed note: According to a spokesperson for Calvin Klein, there is no official "name" for this campaign], despite the backlash over its glamorized depiction of an "up-skirting" victim. Up-skirting is a growing trend of sexual harassment where pictures are taken up a woman's skirt without her knowledge, or without her consent. Not only is this activity a crime in many states like New York, Washington, Florida, and more, but it is also a disturbing breach of privacy and public trust. By normalizing and glamorizing this sexual harassment, Calvin Klein is sending a message that the experiences of real-life victims don't matter, and that it is okay for men to treat the woman standing next to them on the metro as available pornography whenever they so choose. We are calling on Calvin Klein to not only remove this offensive ad, but also to suspend its Erotica advertisement campaign, and to issue an apology to victims of sexual harassment or assault everywhere."
We reached out to representatives for Calvin Klein for comment on this matter. NCOSE has also started a petition in hopes that the American fashion house will remove the campaign and issue an apology.
Update, 5/13/16: Fashion photographer Harley Weir, who shot the campaign, told the Associated Press on Thursday that she's "really happy" with her work. As for everyone's reactions, "I love it," she said.