The recent passing of Karl Lagerfeld earlier this week got me thinking, mostly that I wish I was his cat and slated to inherit a chunk of his wealth but also a lot about why society accepts such poor behavior from people like him. Lagerfeld was notorious for his outspoken anti-fat, anti-refugee, anti-women stances and I’m shocked to see so many influential women sharing outpourings of grief on social media over his death. At the end of the day what did Karl Lagerfeld do? He designed clothing for elitists while promoting a standard of wealth and status that most people will never be able to attain in their lifetime. I don’t understand why he gets a pass because of his so-called creative genius. I don’t understand why Picasso, a misogynist and narcissist is still a revered artist. I don’t understand why Woody Allen isn’t in jail. I don’t understand why society idolizes ugly people who without their wealth and influence and ‘genius’ would otherwise be ostracized. Nobody’s contribution to society should excuse their wrongdoings.
In the wake of the renewed R Kelly scandal and new allegations against Michael Jackson, I’ve heard a lot about separating the art from the artist which is completely asinine. A person’s art is a part of who they are, what would R Kelly be without his art? What would Michael Jackson be? What would Karl Lagerfeld be? What would Picasso be? They would be nobody’s, without the art there is no artist. We need to be more careful about who we idolize and what behavior we are willing to accept. By celebrating Lagerfeld, you’re celebrating the disparaging statements towards overweight women, misogyny and rape apology to name a few of the most shocking things that ever came out of his mouth. You are celebrating someone who used his platform to spread hate and intolerance because he designed some fancy clothing, it’s shameful. I won’t support it and I won’t support women who are celebrating his legacy, it’s too bad that they are some of my favorite makeup artists, models and influencers but they should be using their platform to do better. Honestly, maybe it just goes to show how out of touch some of these people are and that I shouldn’t be admiring them anyway.
Let me know your thoughts on separating art from the artist, can it truly be done?