Donna Karan's Unfortunate Comments on Weinstein

Here is the video of the Sunday night red carpet interview of Donna Karan about Harvey Weinstein. Karan says her remarks about Weinstein and women's accountability for how they present themselves were taken out of context.

Twitter is filled with tweets by outraged women saying they will throw out their DKNY and Donna Karan clothes and boycott the brands. And while she may have well just killed the brands with her Weinstein comments, she no longer owns them. She sold them to LVMH in 2001 (yes, that long ago) and stepped down as a designer for the companies in 2015. (Here's a 2015 interview with Karan on why she sold them.) Nor are DKNY or Donna Karan International still owned by LVMH Fashion Group.

In 2016, LVMH sold them to G-III Apparel Group. What is G-III? The American licensing and manufacturing company that holds the license to Ivanka Trump's clothing line. Boycott away. [More...]

On Monday, the French company said that it had agreed to sell Donna Karan International to G-III Apparel Group, the American manufacturing and licensing company that owns Andrew Marc, Vilebrequin and Bass and holds the licenses for Ivanka Trump, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, among others. It said that the transaction had an enterprise value, a figure based on its stock market valuation plus the net debt on its books, of $650 million.

The other company that will be hurt by a boycott: Macy's, which entered an exclusive contract for DKNY in 2017, making it the only department store left selling DKNY.

Why would I know all this when I don't write about fashion? Because I came across it when I was researching Ivanka Trump's licensing deals, since I bought and wore so much DKNY and Donna Karan in the 80's and 90's, I filed it away somewhere in my brain.

Karan, who is friends with Weinstein and his wife, Georgina Chapman, has responded to the outcry of criticism by saying her remarks were taken out of context. From the same Daily Mail article linked to at the beginning of this post:

In a statement sent just after midnight on Tuesday to DailyMail.com, Karan claimed that her remarks had been 'taken out of context'.

'Last night, I was honored at the Cinemoi Fashion Film Awards in Hollywood and while answering a question on the red carpet I made a statement that unfortunately is not representative of how I feel or what I believe,' she said.

'I have spent my life championing women. My life has been dedicated to dressing and addressing the needs of women, empowering them and promoting equal rights.

'My statements were taken out of context and do not represent how I feel about the current situation concerning Harvey Weinstein.

'I believe that sexual harassment is NOT acceptable and this is an issue that MUST be addressed once and for all regardless of the individual. I am truly sorry to anyone that I offended and everyone that has ever been a victim.'

From Allure, in 2016, Donna Karan's best fashion moments. For those unfamiliar with her design history:

The American designer started as a design assistant at Anne Klein in the late 1960s before working her way up to head of design. She left the company in 1984 when she founded her namesake line, which would become known for easy, wearable pieces that suited career women. In 1989, she launched her more affordable DKNY line.

...Inspired by fast fashion and youth culture, Karan launched the more affordable DKNY line in 1989. As the name implies, DKNY referenced New York City culture. The line included closet staples, such as tailored jackets and jeans. The launch of DKNY led to Karan's fashion empire. Soon after, DKNY Jeans, DKNY Active, DKNY Underwear, DKNY Jeans Juniors, and DKNY Kids launched out of the original line.

What unfortunate comments by Donna Karan. They do seem out of character for her, but I'm not seeing how they were taken out of context. Will anyone give her the benefit of the doubt?

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    Jake (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by FlJoe on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 03:17:38 PM EST
    Tapper just sizzled on attacking all sexual predators left and right,  especially blasting the hypocrisy of the right using their own words against them.

    He had a tape of Howard Stern, tRump and Ivanka joking about tRump admitting to being a predator.
    Tapper practically spit out the words 'you were laughing about it about' to end the segment.

    Not a big Tapper fan, but this was some awesome TV journalism

    I have seriously mixed feelings about the whole (5.00 / 6) (#4)
    by CST on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 03:29:14 PM EST
    "demanding answers from a bunch of women about Harvey Weinstein" thing.

    There's no defending Donna Karan's statement, and I have to question what the "context" was that we're all missing.

    That being said - why are we asking her in the first place?  Why do we demand answers from Merryl Streep?  People seem angry that certain famous women didn't speak up until now - something tells me a lot of those same people would have called them all liars if they had.

    I get that some of these people may have vocally criticized Trump and maybe vocally supported Weinstein in the past - but so did a $hit-ton of male actors and executives.  Why are we only demanding answers from the women?  Why are we demanding answers from anyone other than Harvey himself and maybe those that deliberately covered it up?  

    Most of all - Why on earth are people demanding answers from women who were victimized but didn't speak up?  This isn't a new phenomenon in the slightest.

    Thank you for writing this; I've been (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 06:42:36 PM EST
    bothered/troubled by how this is all being handled.

    I wonder if anyone who's demanding answers from women realizes that this kind of inquisition is one reason women don't come forward; I guess not.

    I also wonder how many men knew and protected and didn't speak up and looked the other way while Weinstein took advantage of his power to treat women like objects he could do anything to? And snickered and giggled and high-fived to show they were one of the boys and enabled Weinstein to keep doing it, as if it was just the way things are done.

    When are men going to act better, be better, respect women?

    Some days it feels like I should mark my calendar for the 12th of Never.


    I don't know if Weinstein is guilty of what (none / 0) (#11)
    by McBain on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 07:48:58 PM EST
    he's been accused of but I do know that tales of the casting couch have been around for a long time.  Perhaps, people in Hollywood just accept it as part of a dirty business.  Perhaps some people didn't speak up because they benefited from it.

    Angelina Jolie, Gwenneth Paltrow and Ashley Judd are respected for their acting talent, not just their looks.  But what about the good looking women and men who aren't as talented? I bet there's plenty of stories of mediocre actors and actresses furthering their career with the casting couch.  They're not going to speak up.


    If you have a point, you failed to make it. (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 08:08:31 PM EST
    I figure it's all just leading up to your telling us that women like their men aggressive.

    So looking forward to that.


    Point number one... (none / 0) (#14)
    by McBain on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 08:59:29 PM EST
    we don't know if Weinstein is guilty of assault or sexual harassment.

    Point number two... the casting couch has benefited men and women over the years. This is probably why many in Hollywood haven't spoken out on this topic. This form of prostitution is rarely talked about.    



    Of course "we don't know." After all, (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by Peter G on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 10:08:23 PM EST
    why believe either Weinstein's own admissions or the corroborated and consistent testimony of numerous women spanning decades? The only thing he hasn't admitted is consummated rape, which he has carefully denied. Contrary to your suggestion, he has admitted both "assault" and "sexual harassment," if you know the definitions of those terms.

    Do you have link? (2.00 / 1) (#17)
    by McBain on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 10:47:00 PM EST
    I'm not aware of those admissions.  I am aware of the allegations, that pathetic audio tape and an "unnamed source" in the NYPD claiming they had evidence of crime.  

    In that pathetic audio (none / 0) (#21)
    by CST on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 08:30:31 AM EST
    I guess you missed this part of the conversation:

    "GUTIERREZ: Why yesterday you touch my breast?

    WEINSTEIN: Oh, please. I'm sorry. Just come on in. I'm used to that."


    i thought (none / 0) (#22)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 08:57:06 AM EST
    the most damning part of that was the end when he is saying come in "or else".  dont call me etc.

    most of the rest was just boorish stuff im sure women get all the time.  that last bit spills into professional, or unprofessional - maybe illegal, behaviour it seemed to me.


    I didn't miss that part (none / 0) (#27)
    by McBain on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 10:23:50 AM EST
    I even talked about it in an earlier post.  Could have been a crime or not.  We don't know from that clip.  

    No one but you, McBain (5.00 / 7) (#43)
    by Peter G on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 03:17:41 PM EST
    is hung up on whether it is a provable-in-court-under-the-rules-of-evidence-and-beyond-a-reasonable-doubt "crime." It doesn't have to be. It is apparently a long-standing pattern of unconscionable behavior by an important public figure in our society. Which, by the way, is also at least technically a crime. And which you can get sued for successfully, even if it is not a crime.

    So, in other words Peter (1.33 / 3) (#45)
    by McBain on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 03:55:42 PM EST
    You don't have a link or any evidence show Weinstein admitted both assault and sexual harassment as you claimed he did.



    Not so (5.00 / 7) (#48)
    by Peter G on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 04:57:35 PM EST
    CST provided it already; no need for me to duplicate. The tape. And his many public statements of the last few days as well, for that matter. The deliberate, nonconsensual touching of a woman's breast is both an assault and, in the context of a prospective or existing professional relationship, also sexual harassment.

    Let's see (none / 0) (#30)
    by CST on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 10:52:41 AM EST
    The conversation continues:

    "GUTIERREZ: You're used to that?

    WEINSTEIN: Yes, come in.

    GUTIERREZ: No, but I'm not used to that.

    WEINSTEIN: I won't do it again. Come on, sit here. Sit here for a minute, please?"

    Emphasis mine.  I really don't see how you can consider that anything other than an admission of guilt that he did it before.


    Did what before? (2.00 / 2) (#31)
    by McBain on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 11:04:29 AM EST
    Touching a woman's breast (assuming that's what he did) isn't usually a crime.  We need to know the context.  Did he force himself on her? Was it a misunderstanding?  Is she lying to get revenge for something?  We don't know yet.

    In a statement I heard last night on CNN, Weinstein's lawyer claimed all of his sexual encounters were consensual. Is that true? We don't know.


    Assuming that's what he did? (5.00 / 4) (#32)
    by CST on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 11:08:59 AM EST

    The context is all over that audio.  I guess saying no 12 different ways till Sunday isn't evidence that she isn't interested.  

    Is she lying  - HE ADMITTED TO DOING IT.

    By the way - here's the DOJ definition of sexual assault:

    "Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient."


    I'm sure she explicitly consented though (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by CST on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 11:20:43 AM EST
    And that's why he felt the need to apologize and tell her it won't happen again.  Clearly she wanted it, and he just felt bad for reasons...

    But hey, women am I right?

    All I can say it - I sincerely hope you're never in a position of power in the workplace.


    I understand why you jumped (1.00 / 3) (#35)
    by McBain on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 11:18:56 AM EST
    to that conclusion.  I'm not going to do that without proof.  Suspicion isn't good enough for me.

    such a huge jump (5.00 / 6) (#38)
    by CST on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 11:23:13 AM EST
    Some people might even call it putting one foot in front of the other.

    Look, if it's so obvious he committed a crime (2.00 / 1) (#39)
    by McBain on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 11:28:27 AM EST
    why wasn't he prosecuted?  They made the effort to do a sting operation yet didn't prosecute.

    "They" (5.00 / 4) (#41)
    by CST on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 11:59:17 AM EST
    didn't do anything.  The NYPD did the sting operation and the DA declined to prosecute.  The NYPD has also publicly criticized the DA's handling of this issue saying explicitly that they would've prosecuted him if he were less powerful.

    But hey, no prosecutor in human history has ever been influenced by money or power...  And apparently you only believe the cops' side of the story when they're attacking civilians.


    This is hilarious (5.00 / 4) (#34)
    by Yman on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 11:18:11 AM EST
     "Touching a woman's breast is not usually a crime."  Of course not, because the vast majority of the time it is consensual.  Of course, in this case, it wasn't, a evidenced by her recorded statements and his responses, which - along with his other statements and those of several other women - you are struggling to ignore.  Yet you are very willing to imagine that she might be lying our was coached to provide her statements without a shred of evidence.  This recording absolutely IS incriminating evidence of sexual assault, but this is not a court of law.  People can look at all of the publicly available information and form their own opinions.

    Did you read the New Yorker article? (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 02:42:39 PM EST
    Thank you Anne (none / 0) (#46)
    by McBain on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 04:15:36 PM EST
    That article was very interesting.  I had heard of some of those allegations but not all.  

    As for the NYPD sting operation, I found these parts interesting...

    But the other source said that Gutierrez's statements about her past complicated the case for the office of the Manhattan District Attorney...

    ...According to a source close to the matter, after the D.A.'s office decided not to press charges, Gutierrez, facing Weinstein's legal team, and in return for a payment, signed a highly restrictive nondisclosure agreement with Weinstein, including an affidavit stating that the acts Weinstein admits to in the recording never happened.

    According to the article, Gutierrez had attended one of Silvio Berlusconi infamous Bunga Bunga parties and had made an allegation of sexual assault against someone else but declined to cooperate with prosecutors.

    I had a feeling there might be more to the story than some were reporting.


    There's always more to the story.. (5.00 / 3) (#47)
    by jondee on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 04:29:51 PM EST
    at no point though, did any woman think Harvey had a taser and make a grab for it, in case you were going to suggest that.

    Did you also see these parts? (5.00 / 4) (#50)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 05:41:31 PM EST
    Multiple sources said that Weinstein frequently bragged about planting items in media outlets about those who spoke against him; these sources feared that they might be similarly targeted. Several pointed to Gutierrez's case, in 2015: after she went to the police, negative items discussing her sexual history and impugning her credibility began rapidly appearing in New York gossip pages.


    Two sources close to the police investigation said that they had no reason to doubt Gutierrez's account of the incident. One of them, a police source, said that the department had collected more than enough evidence to prosecute Weinstein.

    That she had attended one of Berlusconi's infamous Bunga Bunga parties means what, exactly? The article states that "she had been unaware of the nature of the party before arriving, and eventually became a witness in a bribery case against Berlusconi."

    And what, exactly, does it mean that "gossip outlets" reported that as a teenager, she claimed that she had been sexually assaulted by an Italian businessman, but didn't cooperate with prosecutors?  

    That it didn't happen?  Is it really so hard to believe that a woman could be subject more than once to sexual assault?

    "Complicating" the prosecution of Weinstein doesn't mean that the incident with Weinstein didn't happen.

    I find it kind of interesting that the DA was Cyrus Vance, Jr., the DA who also declined to prosecute Jared and Ivanka.  Should we conclude that Vance has an aversion to prosecuting powerful people?


    Earlier, I wondered why Weinstein (none / 0) (#54)
    by McBain on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 07:01:41 PM EST
    wasn't prosecuted.  The article you linked made it sound like Gutierrez's past could be reason.  Doesn't mean she lied about anything... could just mean the DA didn't think they would win with her baggage.

    What "baggage"? (none / 0) (#56)
    by Yman on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 08:41:03 PM EST
    The only way her past could be called damaging  "baggage" is if someone is using it to impugn her credibility as a witness - aka, claiming she lied in her past.

    There's absolutely zero evidence of this.  It's not "baggage".


    And? (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by Yman on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 05:49:32 PM EST
    According to the article, Gutierrez had attended one of Silvio Berlusconi infamous Bunga Bunga parties and had made an allegation of sexual assault against someone else but declined to cooperate with prosecutors.

    I had a feeling there might be more to the story than some were reporting.

    Why do you ignore the rest of the article to focus on this tiny fact?  You seem to be drawing some kind of inference - something on the tip of your fingers that you can't quite work up the courage to type.

    Not remotely surprising.


    Gotta wonder. Why so many settlements (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 10:00:33 PM EST
    in conjunction w/non-disclosure agreements?

    People never publicly stood up (none / 0) (#44)
    by jondee on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 03:38:42 PM EST
    to him out of fear that he'd "come after them with his legal team."

    A firm believer in the right to bear lawyers, was Harvey.


    Weinstein (none / 0) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 05:44:55 PM EST
    isn't president of the US. Weinstein's situation is more comparable to what went down at Fox News.

    ITA (none / 0) (#1)
    by RCBadger on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 03:52:07 AM EST
    Don't just say "My comments were taken out of context", and then give some boilerplate about how unacceptable sexual harassment is.  Show us how it was taken out of context.

    Here's the audio of a NYPD recording (none / 0) (#2)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 11:31:36 AM EST
    of The Harvey "aggressively" trying to get model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez to come into his hotel room.

    I have met him a couple times briefly over the years. Obviously I've never seen him do anything like this, but he is definitely a guy who is used to getting what he wants.

    Trying to talk a woman into going to a (none / 0) (#5)
    by McBain on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 03:36:29 PM EST
    hotel room isn't a crime.  The touching incident may have been but Weinstein's pathetic attempts at seduction weren't... at least not in that audio clip.

    The article you linked sites an unnamed NYPD source saying "We had the evidence".  I wonder it that's true.



    I hope my comment did not imply that (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 03:41:14 PM EST
    I thought it was evidence of a crime.

    Not your comments but the article you linked (none / 0) (#7)
    by McBain on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 04:16:27 PM EST
    made is sound like there was evidence of some kind of sexual assault but the NYPD chose not to prosecute.  

    There have been accusations of sexual harassment and rape.
    Many people are assuming he's guilty without proof which is always a shame.


    Well, there you go. I heard the audio (none / 0) (#8)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 05:25:55 PM EST
    on the radio this AM and googled to find it...I didn't even read the article that accompanied it.

    i can't even!! (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by linea on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 08:04:34 PM EST
    Trying to talk a woman into going to a
    by McBain
    hotel room

    it's infuriating that anyone could listen to that audio tape and then charcterize what is occuring in this way.


    In the tape he seems most concerned (none / 0) (#18)
    by McBain on Tue Oct 10, 2017 at 10:57:30 PM EST
    about being "embarrassed" in front of people who might recognize him.  Maybe that was just a pathetic ploy to get her into his room? I don't know but I've heard a lot worse.

    I'd like to know more about the "sting operation" and the recording of that tape. What happened before and after that clip?  Did the woman know she was being recorded and was she coached on what to say?


    Mystery solved (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by mm on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 08:14:31 AM EST
    I'd like to know more about the "sting operation"

    The man sexually assaulted her the day before.
    She reported it to the police and they asked her if she was willing to wear a wire.  She did. He admitted to the sexual assault on the recording.
    The prosecutor promptly did nothing. The end.


    Cy Vance did nothing... (5.00 / 4) (#28)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 10:26:52 AM EST
    and got one hundred thousand somethings in return...hmmm.

    For a supposedly sharp guy, it appears Weinstein overpaid...the Trump junior mafia got favors from the Manhattan DA's office for about half that.

    While thousands of New Yorkers sit in cages with no conviction for simple lack of bail...equality under the law my arse.


    My former Congressman is sitting in (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Peter G on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 11:09:05 AM EST
    a federal prison on less compelling circumstantial evidence of bribery than that. And U.S. Senator Menendez (D.,N.J.) is presently on trial accused of bribery on similar circumstantial proof of doing favors for a "friend" who was a major "campaign contributor."

    The funny part is... (none / 0) (#37)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 11:21:32 AM EST
    Cy Vance is unopposed for reelection...why the f*ck do you even need to pimp out the DA's office for campaign funds when no one is campaigning against you?  You can't make this sh*t up!

    The previous DA of Philadelphia is also (none / 0) (#40)
    by Peter G on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 11:44:34 AM EST
    sitting in jail now for making promises of trying to do favors for campaign contributors and personal "friends" -- also while unopposed.

    He did not admit to sexual assualt (2.00 / 1) (#26)
    by McBain on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 10:21:47 AM EST
    in the recording that was linked here.  We need more context than what was provided.  If you have other evidence, please provide a link.

    Here's (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 10:35:28 AM EST
    Bwahaha! (5.00 / 4) (#49)
    by Zorba on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 05:28:32 PM EST
    A perfect response to McBain, who has apparently never met or read about a female whom he believes has been sexually assaulted or even raped, despite her testimony.
    I guess if he personally did not witness it, it must not have happened.  And even if he did witness it, he would probably be questioning what went on between the two of them before the assault/rape.

    It may be that McBain is so convinced that (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 05:47:44 PM EST
    women find overbearing sexual aggression a turn-on, that the only answer is that these women must be making it all up for their own selfish and nefarious reasons.

    An old-fashioned "no means yes" (5.00 / 4) (#53)
    by jondee on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 06:37:40 PM EST
    kinda guy.

    FWIW (none / 0) (#20)
    by CST on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 08:25:06 AM EST
    I'm fairly certain that the woman in question decided not to go ahead with the case.  Not much you can do as a prosecutor when you lose your material witness.

    that is not how it is being reported (none / 0) (#23)
    by mm on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 09:40:28 AM EST
    The DA, Cy Vance, I believe has already released a statement.

    Prosecutor Threw Away Slam-Dunk Cases Against Weinstein and Trump Kids

    This week he claimed he couldn't prosecute Weinstein because he lacked sufficient proof of Weinstein's criminal intent when he allegedly groped Ambra Battilana in New York in March 2015. In fact, the evidence against Weinstein for sexual abuse is overwhelming.

    I stand corrected (none / 0) (#24)
    by CST on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 09:48:48 AM EST
    I had seen that but after doing more research it appears she settled after the DA declined to press charges.

    If I was (none / 0) (#25)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 10:15:10 AM EST
    Cyrus Vance Jr., I would be planning a nice vacation in a country with no extradition treaty.

    CNN (none / 0) (#55)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Oct 11, 2017 at 07:22:40 PM EST
    The damnedest thing about Vance is that ... (none / 0) (#57)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Oct 12, 2017 at 04:46:28 PM EST
    ... his father, Cyrus Vance, Sr. had a pretty impeccable reputation as a public official, which included serving as a lead negotiator in the Paris peace talks with North Vietnam -- it was his work that got sabotaged by then-candidate Richard Nixon's campaign in the fall of 1968 -- and culminated in his tenure as President Jimmy Carter's Secretary of State From 1977 to 1980.

    Guess Pops was so busy saving the country from itself that he never had the time to instruct Junior in the ways of personal ethics.



    i remember (none / 0) (#58)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Oct 12, 2017 at 05:38:37 PM EST
    Or maybe Jr. just didn't have the evidence (none / 0) (#59)
    by McBain on Thu Oct 12, 2017 at 08:18:48 PM EST
    needed for a conviction?  Weinstein could obviously afford excellent defense attorneys. Jr. probably didn't want to lose.