November 15, 2017 00:41 GMT by nytimes.com

Now Karl Lagerfeld Has Opinions on Migrants in Europe

Now Karl Lagerfeld Has Opinions on Migrants in Europe

And on Angela Merkel, and on Jewish people. He shared his thoughts on a French television program on Saturday, prompting hundreds of complaints.

Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director of Chanel and Fendi, is known for making tactless and offensive comments. Over the years, he has publicly gone after women’s looks, Adele, Russian men, short men, men his age, swans, anorexia, Kim Kardashian and — quelle horreur — Meryl Streep.

His latest moment of inexplicable opinioneering arrived on Saturday. During a segment of the French television show “Salut les Terriens,” Mr. Lagerfeld criticized Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, for allowing nearly one million migrants to enter the country in 2015. (Ms. Merkel recently agreed to limit the number of asylum seekers allowed to enter to 200,000 annually.)

“One cannot — even if there are decades between them — kill millions of Jews so you can bring millions of their worst enemies in their place,” Mr. Lagerfeld said. He cited an anecdote in support of his assumptions that Jewish people and refugees are at odds.

“I know someone in Germany who took a young Syrian and after four days said, ‘The greatest thing Germany invented was the Holocaust,’” he said.

Mr. Lagerfeld suggested that Ms. Merkel felt she needed to take in more migrants in 2015 to counteract the image she was given as “the wicked stepmother in the story of the Greek crisis.”

“Suddenly the pastor’s daughter comes out again,” he said. (Ms. Merkel’s father was a minister.)

On Monday, following Mr. Lagerfeld’s comments, AFP reported that hundreds of viewers had complained to the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel, the organization that oversees French broadcasting.

Mr. Lagerfeld has been designing for Chanel since 1983 and for Fendi since 1965. Neither company could be reached for comment.

Mr. Lagerfeld has caused offense several times in recent years. In October 2016, he suggested that Ms. Kardashian should not have been shocked when masked men entered her hotel, tied her up, gagged her and stole millions of dollars’ worth of jewelry. “You cannot display your wealth and then be surprised that some people want to share it with you,” he said to The Telegraph.

In 2012, he called Adele “a little too fat,” a statement he later backtracked on by correcting his phrasing to “a little roundish.” And years earlier, he denied that the pressure modeling exerts on young women to look a certain way could be a cause of anorexia.

In February, before the Oscars, Mr. Lagerfeld earned himself a scathing statement from Ms. Streep, a regular nominee, after he suggested that she chose to wear another designer because she was offered payment. “A genius actress, but cheapness also, no?” Mr. Lagerfeld said.

Ms. Streep said that she did not accept payments. Mr. Lagerfeld said he had misunderstood. “Mr. Lagerfeld’s generic ‘statement’ of regret for this ‘controversy’ was not an apology,” Ms. Streep then said, in a statement.

His designs have also stirred anger and confusion. The Guardian compared him to Lewis Carroll’s character the Mad Hatter after he made a collection for Chanel that was inspired by India. The problem? Mr. Lagerfeld had not visited the country. “It’s much more inspiring not to go to places than to go,” he said.

And his protest-themed Chanel runway show in 2015 led some commenters to call out his hypocrisy in regularly criticizing women’s bodies yet staging a faux feminist protest, suggesting that Mr. Lagerfeld was appropriating feminism for marketing purposes.

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