Calvin Klein has a history of being provocative in its advertising. In the '90s, its many racy topless campaigns helped jumpstart the modeling careers of celebrities including Kate Moss; the brand has also been accused of glamorizing drug use and alluding to child pornography. The brand frequently courts controversy in its marketing by pushing homosexuality and sexual fluidity. Compared to such ads, the recent campaign starring supermodel Bella Hadid sharing a kiss with CGI influencer Lil Miquela might seem tame—but consumers weren’t having it on social media, prompting a response from the brand.
Shortly after the ad’s debut last week, many complained the video was “queerbaiting,” particularly because Hadid identifies as straight. Others were creeped out by the virtual influencer. In the 30-second clip, Hadid and Miquela eye one another before their kiss. A voice-over from Hadid says, “Life is about opening doors, creating new dreams you never knew could exist.”