Calvin Klein is in trouble again, this time for a series of sexually suggestive underwear adverts, with an "up-skirt" peek at a young woman's crotch attracting the most controversy. The clip is featured as part of the brand's new series, that uses a fill-in-the blanks gimmick, as in: "I — in my Calvins."
In this particular image, the camera stares up the model's dress, looking right between her legs and captures her underwear.
"I flash in #mycalvins," says the accompanying caption. While the message may be that the model has chosen to "flash" the photographer, the image also suggests a scenario to many in which the photo was captured by some creeper against the woman's will.
Critics also say the model, Klara Kristin, appears so young as to be underage, although she is actually 22 years old.
"This has a very paedophile vibe to it," remarks one commenter on the Calvin Klein Instagram post of the ad. "The model is 22, but she is made to look younger and child-like." Another asks: "Where are your parents?"
"Disgusting. Rape culture and paedophile acceptance is alive and well," noted another observer. But another responded: "People get offended over everything these days."
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has launched a petition calling for Calvin Klein to pull the ad.
"Up-skirting is a growing trend of sexual harassment where pictures are taken up a woman's skirt without her knowledge, or consent," states the petition. "Not only is this activity a crime in many states ... it is also a disturbing breach of privacy and public trust. By glamorizing this sexual harassment, Calvin Klein is sending a message that the experiences of real-life victims don't matter, and that it is okay for men to treat the woman standing next to them on the metro as available pornography whenever they so choose."
The Calvin Klein ads are achieving what the brand has always done best: getting talked about. The company has always pushed the envelope right to the edge of what is sexually acceptable — or not — in the media, with one of the earliest controversies featuring a young Brook Shields in tight Calvin Klein jeans, steamily declaring that "nothing" comes between her and her Calvins.
Other provocative images in the latest series include a woman with her fists jammed down the front of her underwear and Kendall Jenner squeezing half a grapefruit next to her face — and crotch — saying: "I eat in #mycalvins."