Renowned fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has sparked outrage on social media, and prompted a flurry of complaints to France’s TV standards watchdog, after likening German leader Angela Merkel’s liberal asylum policies to the Holocaust.
France’s media regulator announced on Monday, November 13, that several hundred people had launched complaints against famed German fashion designer after he appeared on a French talk show over the weekend, and evoked the Holocaust to criticize German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Lagerfeld, currently head creative director for Chanel and Fendi, sparked outrage when he likened Merkel’s controversial open-door policy to refugees fleeing conflict to Hitler’s infamous “final solution” which led to the deaths of millions.
“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. I know someone in Germany who took in a young Syrian and after four days said, ‘The greatest thing Germany invented was the Holocaust,’ ” Lagerfield said.
At the peak of the refugee crisis in 2015, Merkel pledged to offer refuge to Syrians fleeing a devastating civil war, a move that has since divided domestic and regional politics. Germany went on to receive nearly 900,000 migrants in that year alone.
“Merkel had already millions and millions [of immigrants] who are well integrated and who work and all is well… she had no need to take another million to improve her image as the wicked stepmother after the Greek crisis,” Lagerfeld said.
Lagerfeld’s comments have been widely discussed on social media networks, and France’s media regulator said it would continue to review the program and the fashion designer’s remarks to determine if they merit further response from French authorities.