Famous fashion designer Donna Karan and her fashion house DKNY have been under fire in recent weeks after the designer defended Harvey Weinstein amid allegations of his sexual misconduct.
“It’s not Harvey Weinstein,” Karan said in an interview to The Daily Mail. “You look at everything all over the world today, you know, and how women are dressing and, you know, what they’re asking by just presenting themselves the way they do. What are they asking for? Trouble.”
The designer’s comments drew a lot of criticism, and even though Karan stepped down as Creative Director of her company in 2015, shoppers are now calling for a boycott of the DKNY product line altogether.
An online petition on Care2 that asks Nordstrom to drop all Donna Karan products has garnered almost 30,000 signatures as of today.
After issuing an apology saying that her “statements were taken out of context,” Karan stepped forward with the following pre-recorded TV interview with Good Morning America:
However, the designer’s second attempt at mitigating the crisis seems to have hurt her brand more than it helped it.
Consider these three takeaways from Donna Karan’s communications mistakes:
- Be prepared to answer questions during interviews
One of the most glaring issues with Karan’s interview is that the majority of her responses did not address the questions GMA’s Robin Roberts asked her. When preparing for an interview at a time of a PR crisis, make sure to prepare answers for a list of the most difficult questions you may be asked.
- Be mindful of your body language and facial expression
While there wasn’t anything wrong with Karan’s body language, her facial expression was not appropriate for the context of the interview. Karan smiled through the conversation with Roberts, which took away from the sincerity of her apology and failed at communicating the seriousness of the subject at hand.
- Own up to your mistake
Rather than taking full responsibility for her comments, Karan blamed exhaustion, saying that it was not who she is. By deflecting the problem, rather than owning up to it, Karan wasn’t able to offer her audience a promise to improve and do better.
Do you think Donna Karan’s apology would have been received better had she not made these mistakes? Let us know in the comments section!
P.S. In today’s world of the 24-hour news cycle and constantly breaking headlines, the ability to communicate your message effectively has become more important than ever. If you need professional media training or help crafting your talking points, give Red Banyan a call.