Joop! founder apologises after comments 'glorifying abuse of models'

German designer Wolfgang Joop apologises after being accused of ‘glorifying sexual abuse’ by bemoaning the end of the ‘frivolous’ era when ‘agencies used to give models’ room keys to ‘rich men’

  • German fashion designer Wolfgang Joop, 76, appeared to glorify prostitution
  • He said: Agencies gave rich men keys to the rooms of models who didn’t bring in so much money. [If she complained, she was told] We can do without you
  • Remarks prompted accusations that Joop was endorsing abuse of women 
  • He apologised, saying the treatment of models was ‘disrespectful and abusive’

German fashion designer Wolfgang Joop has apologised after being accused of ‘glorifying sexual abuse’ of models.

Joop, 76, founder of fashion and cosmetics brand JOOP!, said in an interview with German news magazine Der Spiegel that he mourned the end of an era in fashion when ‘everything could be bought’. 

He said: ‘The agencies gave rich men the keys to the rooms of models who didn’t bring in so much money. And if a girl complained, she was told, “We can always do without you.”‘   

German fashion designer Wolfgang Joop has apologised after being accused of ‘glorifying sexual abuse’ of models. Pictured, Joop with supermodel Claudia Schiffer in 1998

When the interviewer pointed out that was ‘terrible’, he added: ‘Yes, but the fashion world is only really beautiful when there is also sin.’

The comments, published on Friday, were met with outrage by Twitter users who called for the designer to be ‘cancelled’. 

One tweeted: ‘Abusive and misogynistic comments by Wolfgang #joop! glorifying sexual abuse and exploitation of women in the fashion industry in the “good old days” of Karl #Lagerfeld.’ 

Another posted: ‘Designer Wolfgang Joop muses over the beautiful and sinful decades when models were basically sex trafficked: “The agencies gave the keys to the models’ rooms, who didn’t bring so much money, to rich men”.’

A third, in a tweet translated from German, added: ‘Rape, sexual assault – the good old days. Such misogynous s**t can still be said normally in an interview in the Spiegel in 2021. I could puke!!!’

Joop, 76, founder of fashion and cosmetics brand JOOP!, said in an interview with German news magazine Der Spiegel that he mourned the end of an era in fashion when ‘everything could be bought’. Pictured, Joop with Heidi Klum on Germany’s Next Top Model in 2015

The comments, published on Friday, were met with outrage by Twitter users who called for the designer to be ‘cancelled’

The designer, who appeared alongside Heidi Klum on Germany’s Next Top Model, initially defended his comments, telling the newspaper Bild: ‘The girls wanted to earn money and to be part of it. So it was better to have contact with rich men than to have to sit at the supermarket till.

He added: ‘The things I speak about there happened. I don’t condone these events.’

But on Sunday he released a statement via Facebook in which he apologised for any offence caused and roundly condemned the ‘abusive treatment of models’.

He said: ‘In my comment on past times in the fashion world I pointed to the corruption and frivolity of the industry in the Seventies and Eighties, a component of which regrettably was the disrespectful and abusive treatment of models.  

‘My statement about sin in the fashion world was out of place in the context. I want to sincerely apologise for this here and to emphasise that I deeply reject any form of abuse of power and violence at that time and today.’

On Sunday the designer released a statement via Facebook in which he apologised for any offence caused and roundly condemned the ‘abusive treatment of models’

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