Karan provided the comments on the red carpet
The famous designer says her words were taken out of context
Designer Donna Karan has apologized for the remarks she made about women in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal that has dogged Hollywood power player Harvey Weinstein.
Weinstein was fired from his company on Sunday, days after the New York Times published a blistering investigation detailing numerous incidents of alleged sexual harassment by the media mogul over a period of nearly three decades.
Karan was interviewed on the red carpet Sunday at the Cinemoi Fashion Film Awards in Hollywood and made comments to the Daily Mail which suggested that women may be “asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality.”
“I think we have to look at ourselves,” Karan said. “Obviously, the treatment of women all over the world is something that has always had to be identified. Certainly in the country of Haiti where I work, in Africa, in the developing world, it’s been a hard time for women.”
The legendary women’s fashion designer went on to question women’s role in sexual harassment incidents.
“To see it here in our own country is very difficult, but I also think how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women,” Karan said to the Daily Mail. “What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?”
Karan also pointed to Weinstein’s achievements and said she knew his wife Georgina Chapman. The designer described the couple as “wonderful people.”
Karan has since apologized saying, “I made a statement that unfortunately is not representative of how I feel or what I believe.”
“I have spent my life championing women,” Karen said in a statement obtained by CNN. “My life has been dedicated to dressing and addressing the needs of women, empowering them and promoting equal rights.”
Her defense of Weinstein was not well-received and actress Rose McGowan, who was named in the New York Times story but declined comment, called Karan “scum” in a tweet on Monday.
“Donna Karan you are a DEPLORABLE Aiding and abetting is a moral crime,” McGowan tweeted. “You are scum in a fancy dress.”
Others also tweeted their anger, with some calling for a boycott of her DKNY brand. A few pointed to some of Karan’s own runway creations to slam her for her comments. “Hey ladies, be careful if you’re wearing Donna Karan’s designs. You’re just asking for it!,” one tweet read.
Karan’s statements come at a time when many others in Hollywood including Meryl Streep and Dame Judi Dench have condemned Weinstein’s alleged behavior. George Clooney spoke with The Daily Beast Monday and called the accusations against the man he has known for 20 years “indefensible.”
“That’s the only word you can start with,” Clooney said.
Karan said in her statement that her comments “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,” Karan said. “I am truly sorry to anyone that I offended and everyone that has ever been a victim.”
CNN has reached out to a rep for Karan to ask about her statement and how her comments were taken out of context.
CNN’s Deborah Doft contributed to this report