While the internet chastised designer Kenneth Cole yesterday for “mocking war to sell shoes,” the man himself says that he was only provoking discussion using his platform.
Things are screwed up in Syria, and that’s the understatement of the year. Not only have thousands of people died (including children), but the U.S. is currently weighing military action – action that is pretty unpopular among the American people. With the U.S. on the brink of possible international involvement, Cole posted this tweet and ruffled some feathers:
"Boots on the ground" or not, let's not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers. #Footwear
— Kenneth Cole (@KennethCole) September 5, 2013
As you might imagine, there were plenty of “what the hell, man”s and “seriously, dude?”s – especially considering this wasn’t Kenneth Cole’s first rodeo in terms of controversial tweets. Back in 2011, Cole tweeted “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online.”
Anyway, he later posted a response to the backlash over the tweet:
“I’ve always used my platform to provoke dialogue about important issues including HIV/AIDS, war, and homelessness. I am well aware of the risks that come with this approach, and if this encourages further awareness and discussion about critical issues then all the better,” says Cole in a Instagram video.
Except there’s one problem with that. Kenneth Cole’s Syria intervention tweet didn’t stir up discussion about the Syrian conflict – it mostly stirred up discussion about the fact that Kenneth Cole made a dumb Syria tweet.
Either way, he did get people talking, that’s for sure. And the responses from some on Twitter have been a bit over the top. I’m not sure Kenneth Cole is a “sociopath,” as one user claims. He’s not “stupid as fuck,” either. He used the platform to provoke dialogue – just like he said.
But he just wound up kind of looking like a dick in the process. Oh well, social media attention favors the bold.
Image via Kenneth Cole, Instagram