Fashion designer Kenneth Cole tried to make light today of the debate over putting “boots on the ground” in a U.S.-led military intervention in Syria. Cole tweeted the following:
"Boots on the ground" or not, let's not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers. #Footwear
— Kenneth Cole (@kennethcolereal) September 5, 2013
The tweet quickly went viral, provoking a largely negative reaction. He defended the quip in a statement to the Daily Mail, saying that he had spent 30 years using his platform ”in provocative ways to encourage a healthy dialogue about important issues, including HIV/AIDS, war, and homelessness.”
“I’m 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,” Cole said.
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time that Cole has managed to get into hot water with a tweet about clothes and conflict in the Middle East. Back in 2011, he tweeted about the Egyptian uprisings in an attempt to advertise his company’s spring collection.
“Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online,” he tweeted on February 3, 2011. He deleted the tweet hours later and issued an apology on his Facebook page.
Perhaps he should have consulted one of his own tweets from just a few days ago:
#randomthought: More important then saying the right thing at the right time, is leaving unsaid the wrong thing at that tempting moment
— Kenneth Cole (@kennethcolereal) August 30, 2013