Fashion guru Kenneth Cole is in hot water over a tweet Thursday from his personal account, where he apparently used the threat of military conflict in Syria to promote footwear.
Cole—no stranger to Twitter controversy—was immediately attacked over a comment widely seen as opportunistic and insensitive.
"Boots on the ground" or not, let's not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers. #Footwear— Kenneth Cole (@KennethCole) September 5, 2013
Cole has now issued the following statement: "For 30 years I have used my platform in provocative ways to encourage a healthy dialogue about important issues, including HIV/AIDS, war, and homelessness. I'm well aware of the risks that come with this approach, and if this encourages further awareness and discussion about critical issues then all-the-better."
In February 2011, Kenneth Cole tweeted "Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online." Cole later apologized for the tweet, but it seems he did not learn from his mistake.
Much like his tweet in 2011, Cole uses a global news event to promote his brand.
This time, he references Syria with the phrase "boots on the ground" a matter of days before Congress votes on whether or not to use U.S. military force against Syria. He also sent the tweet as fashion week got underway in New York.
The reaction? Disbelief that he could repeat the same mistake twice.
Mocking war to sell fashion? Really? RT @KennethCole: "Boots on the ground" or not, let's not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers.— Heather Whaling (@prtini) September 5, 2013
Kenneth Cole gets prize for most idiotic and offensive fashion tweet of year after #Syria gassing. Appalling stuff— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) September 5, 2013
.@KennethCole Syria/Footwear tweet is this week's reminder that no, everything is not relevant to your brand.— Evan Sutton (@suttnutz) September 5, 2013