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Karl Lagerfeld's death triggers Twitter spat between Cara Delevingne and Jameela Jamil

Jamil argued that Delevingne was unaffected by Lagerfeld's past comments, as a "thin, and white, and incredibly privileged" woman

Cara Delevingne and Karl Lagerfeld on the runway at Chanel's autumn / winter 2014 fashion show in Paris. Reuters
Cara Delevingne and Karl Lagerfeld on the runway at Chanel's autumn / winter 2014 fashion show in Paris. Reuters

When news of Karl Lagerfeld's death broke on Tuesday, many celebrities posted heartfelt tributes and emotive thanks to the designer on social media - but not all of them.

The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil was among several voices on social media who highlighted controversial comments made by Lagerfeld before his death, taking to Twitter to call the creative director of Chanel a "misogynist".

"I'm glad somebody said it. Even if it is a little soon," said the British star and body positive activist, sharing an article titled 'Stop mourning oppressors'. "A ruthless, fat-phobic misogynist shouldn't be posted all over the internet as a saint gone-too-soon. Talented for sure, but not the best person."

Lagerfeld, who died in Paris on February 19 aged 85, was famed for his stints at Chloe, Fendi and his own namesake label, and has been credited with breathing new life into a dying Chanel when he joined the French maison in the 1980s.

During his lifetime the designer was, however, criticised for several inflammatory remarks, such as calling Princess Diana "stupid" and singer Adele a "little fat".

He also once, grossly, evoked the Holocaust to criticise Syrian refugees: "One cannot, even if there are decades between them, kill millions of Jews so you can bring millions of their worst enemies in their place," he told French talk show Salut les Terriens! in 2017. "I know someone in Germany who took a young Syrian and after four days said, 'The greatest thing Germany invented was the Holocaust,'"

Jamil, who rose to fame as a TV presenter in the UK, has spent recent years campaigning against body-shaming, sizeism and a lack of diversity in the fashion and beauty industries.

Jameela Jamil has stood by her comments. AP
Jameela Jamil has stood by her comments. AP

The 32-year-old added in a tweet after Lagerfeld's death: "Gonna write an essay about this instead of trying to put my thoughts on this into a tweet. How problematic the industry has been for girls is too complex for this."

Her comments sparked immediate debate online in the hours after the designer's death, when social media was awash with tributes. Among those who responded to Jamil was Cara Delevingne, who branded the actress "disrespectful".

"He was born in 1933! I am not saying I agree with some of the things he has said," replied the British model on Twitter. "I’m very emotional and mourning his death and feel like I have to stick up for him when he’s not here to speak for himself."

In a lengthy conversation, Jamil argued that Delevingne was unaffected by Lagerfeld's past comments, as a "thin, and white, and incredibly privileged" woman, while the model revealed that everyone should have a chance to be forgiven.

The pair eventually abandoned the emotionally fraught topic, with Jamil adding that the exchange was a "really interesting thread between two people with very different views who aren’t trying to win, or be rude, just trying to appeal to the other’s empathy".

"'I just don’t feel that living in the past and bringing up things that have already happened helps anything," said Delevingne. "Let’s move forward and lead with love. That’s it."

Jamil later added in a tweet on Thursday that she "could have waited a few days to say what I said about Karl".

"But watching the pain on here of the marginalised people he was so offensive about, as he was being glorified, hurt my heart," said the actress. "I 100 per cent stand by what I said, but next time I’ll try and leave it a few days."

Updated: February 21, 2019 01:29 PM

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