Louis Vuitton has finally responded to the backlash around its Michael Jackson-inspired fall 2019 menswear collection after the release of “Leaving Neverland,” the new documentary in which two men allege they were sexually assaulted by the pop icon when they were children.
“I am aware that in light of this documentary the show has caused emotional reactions,” Louis Vuitton’s men’s artistic director Virgil Abloh said in an exclusive statement shared with WWD. “I strictly condemn any form of child abuse, violence or infringement against any human rights.”
Continued Abloh: “My intention for this show was to refer to Michael Jackson as a pop culture artist. It referred only to his public life that we all know and to his legacy that has influenced a whole generation of artists and designers.”
Michael Burke, Vuitton’s chairman and chief executive officer, echoed the sentiment. “We find the allegations in the documentary deeply troubling and disturbing,” he said. “Child safety and welfare is of utmost importance to Louis Vuitton. We are fully committed to advocating this cause.”
The statement also added that the documentary caused the label “the greatest pain” and that its team was “unaware” of the documentary on the day of the men’s runway show, which took place on Jan. 17 — about a week before the Sundance premiere of “Leaving Neverland” on Jan. 25.
Vuitton’s collection included a T-shirt printed with an image of Jackson’s feet mid-moonwalk, loafer and white sock-clad models and sequin-encrusted pieces in homage to the singer’s over-the-top stage costumes. The brand said it plans to pull pieces “that directly [feature] Michael Jackson elements” from production, and that the collection that ultimately goes to stores will “purely reflect the true values of the brand and of our artistic director.”