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FKA twigs Calls Out ‘Double Standards’ After Her Calvin Klein Advert Is Banned in the U.K.

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Updated: | Originally published:

A Calvin Klein advertisement featuring British musician FKA twigs has been banned in the U.K. by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for depicting the artist as a “stereotypical sexual object.” The advertisement pictured the performer with a denim shirt draped halfway around her body, “leaving the side of her buttocks and half of one breast exposed,” the ASA noted in its announcement of the ruling on Jan. 10. “Calvins or nothing,” the text at the top of the poster said.

Following the news, FKA twigs took to Instagram to issue a public response, in which she called out what she views as "double standards" in the industry. "I do not see the ‘stereotypical sexual object’ that they have labelled me. I see a beautiful strong woman of colour whose incredible body has overcome more pain than you can imagine," she wrote on Jan. 11, captioning a picture of the now-banned ad campaign. "In light of reviewing other campaigns, past and current, of this nature, I can’t help but feel there are some double standards here."

The artist went on to say that she is "proud" of her physicality, citing Josephine Baker, Eartha Kitt, and Grace Jones as inspirational women "who broke down barriers of what it looks like to be empowered and harness a unique embodied sensuality." She then thanked Calvin Klein and the photographers of her ad campaign, Mert Alaş and Marcus Piggott, before concluding that she "will not have her narrative" changed.

FKA twigs has received support from other women in the entertainment industry. I May Destroy You writer and actor Michaela Coel posted the Calvin Klein picture on Twitter, alongside the caption: "Brave. Open. Unafraid. Powerful. In control. Strong. Unashamed. With braids to boot. Leading the shoot. Here for it."

The ASA, which regulates advertising, received two complaints about the FKA twigs poster and two separate Calvin Klein advertisements featuring Kendall Jenner. The complainants alleged that the images were “offensive and irresponsible, because they objectified women” and were “inappropriate for display in an untargeted medium.”

Responding to the ASA’s investigation, Calvin Klein said the ads were similar to the posters the company has typically run in the U.K for years, claiming that they did not overly sexualize the women featured in the ads and that the women themselves also approved the images ahead of time. The clothing brand also provided interview excerpts by both women who they said “felt a sense of empowerment and confidence” from participating in the ad campaign.

But the ASA did not agree. “The ad used nudity and centered on FKA twigs’ physical features rather than the clothing, to the extent that it presented her as a stereotypical sexual object,” a statement from the ASA reads, adding that the “image’s composition placed viewers’ focus on the model’s body rather than on the clothing being advertised.”

The decision means that the advertisement featuring FKA twigs cannot appear again in its current form. Posters featuring Kendall Jenner, however, were ruled to not violate the ASA’s standards and can continue to be displayed as such. 

The ban was announced just days after Calvin Klein released a viral Spring 2024 campaign featuring The Bear actor Jeremy Allen White. 

The ASA told Calvin Klein to “ensure that future ads did not irresponsibly objectify women and were targeted appropriately.” 

TIME has reached out to Calvin Klein for comment.

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Write to Olivia-Anne Cleary at olivia-anne.cleary@time.com