Calvin Klein FKA Twigs poster banned as being “likely to cause serious offence” by objectifying womenJanuary 10th, 2024
A Calvin Klein poster featuring FKA Twigs has been banned, with the ruling claiming it is “likely to cause serious offence” by objectifying women.
First released in Spring 2023, the poster saw the artist posing with a denim shirt draping over one shoulder – leaving the side of her buttocks and half of one break exposed. It came with the tagline “Calvins or nothing”.
However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) went on to receive two complaints about the campaign image, each arguing that the portrayal of Twigs was “overly sexualised” and caused offence by objectifying women. These were then upheld by the ASA.
Commenting on the campaign photo and follow-up complaints, they made a statement reading (via The Times): “We considered the image’s composition placed viewers’ focus on the model’s body rather than on the clothing being advertised,” the ruling said. “The ad used nudity and centred on FKA Twigs physical features rather than the clothing, to the extent that it presented her as a stereotypical sexual object.”
The statement also added that the nudity involved “gave the image an overall sexual overture”, and ruled that it was not suitable for display in an untargeted manner.
Adding on, they claimed that the advert was “irresponsible” and “likely to cause serious offence”. Calvin Klein have also been told not to run the image again.
Responding to the controversy surrounding the image when the complaints arose, Calvin Klein argued that the advert showed FKA Twigs being “empowered” rather than objectified. They also added that all “sensitive body areas” had been covered and the image showed the same degree of nudity that they have used in past campaigns.
They further stated that the campaign contained a “progressive and enlightened message”.
A similar sentiment was shared by Twigs herself, who spoke to Rolling Stone at the time of the campaign launch and recalled how she felt “strong” because of the photoshoot.
“Doing [this campaign] means I can be who I am — a strong woman. That isn’t going to go in and out of fashion,” she said (via The Times). “When I’m in my 60s and have grandchildren, I can show them these pictures and say, ‘Your grandmother was strong’.”
She also shared the image on X/Twitter last Match, writing: “It’s an honour to be the new face of @calvinklein and to have worked so closely with some of my dearest friends to create something I believe reflects me as a woman and an artist.”
it’s an honour to be the new face of @calvinklein and to have worked so closely with some of my dearest friends to create something that i believe reflects me as a woman and artist #ad pic.twitter.com/N9ElliuND6
— FKA twigs (@FKAtwigs) March 15, 2023
At time of writing, neither FKA Twigs or Calvin Klein have responded to the ruling.
The decision to ban the advert may have been partially impacted by the musician’s ongoing lawsuit against her ex-boyfriend Shia LaBeouf.
The legal action was filed by the musician – real name Tahliah Debrett Barnett – in 2020, when she accused him of “relentless abuse” during their former relationship, including sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress.
In September, it was revealed that the trail would be postponed. It was originally set to take place last November but, on August 29, both parties agreed to a continuance, postponing the trial to Monday, October 14, 2024.
Following the claims coming to light, LaBeouf responded to Twigs’ allegations as well as those of another former girlfriend Karolyn Pho who has also accused him of abusive behaviour.
“I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behaviour made them feel,” LaBeouf said. “I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalisations. I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years. I have a history of hurting the people closest to me. I’m ashamed of that history and am sorry to those I hurt. There is nothing else I can say.”
He added that “many of these allegations are not true”, but said that he owed the women “the opportunity to air their statements publicly and accept accountability for those things I have done”.