PETA slammed over 'incredibly disrespectful' statement on 'nemesis' Karl Lagerfeld's death

PETA slammed over 'incredibly disrespectful' statement on 'nemesis' Karl Lagerfeld's death

PETA has been slammed after releasing a "gobsmacking" press release on Karl Lagerfeld's death.

The fashion icon's fans went into mourning today when it was announced the designer had died, aged 85, in Paris after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

However, the animal rights organisation had a less than sympathetic response to the news, taking to social media to claim that with the demise of their "nemesis" came the end of the popularity of the fur trade.

Posting their controversial tribute to Twitter, they wrote: "Karl Lagerfeld has gone, and his passing marks the end of an era when fur and exotic skins were seen as covetable. PETA sends condolences to our old nemesis's loved ones."

Immediately after it went live, the post was condemned by people online who named the comments "incredibly disrespectful".

Columnist Sali Hughes shared the message on Twitter, saying: "I’ve just had an absolutely gobsmacking press release from PETA. Jesus. Take the day off".

Another columnist named Sarah Ditum replied saying "Oh f**k off, PETA, you tedious prigs," while comedian Andrew O'Neill added: "I often wonder if their true purpose is to discredit the entire animal rights movement. They couldn’t be doing a better job of it."

PETA has always had a heated relationship with Lagerfeld, regularly attacking the German designer's decision to include fur in his collections and shows in the past.

Speaking out on fur in fashion, the creative director for Chanel and Fendi previously claimed: "It’s very easy to say no fur, no fur, no fur, but it’s an industry. Who will pay for all the unemployment of the people if you suppress the industry of the fur? The hunters in the north for the sable, they have no other job, there is nothing else to do. Those organizations who are much against it, they are not Bill Gates."

He later added: "I hate the idea of killing animals in a horrible way, but I think all that improved a lot. I think a butcher shop is even worse. It's like visiting a murder. It's horrible, no? So I prefer not to know it."

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 06: Karl Lagerfeld attends the LVMH Prize 2018 Edition at Fondation Louis Vuitton on June 6, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images) Credit: Getty

However, in December 2018, Lagerfeld agreed to pull all fur and exotic skins – including crocodile, lizard, snake and stingray – from Chanel.

A spokesperson at the time said the brand wanted to maintain ethical standards, following extensive pressure from campaign groups.

"We did it because it’s in the air, but it’s not an air people imposed to us," commented Bruno Pavlovsky, president of Chanel fashion and president of Chanel SAS.

Lagerfeld's death comes just under a month after he failed to greet the audience on the runway at the end of Chanel's haute couture show in Paris because he was "tired".

The 85-year-old, who is credited for Chanel's resurgence in the 80s, had been unwell for several weeks before his passing.

While PETA's reaction to the news was condemned, hundreds of fans and dozens of celebrities took to social media to pay loving tributes to him.

Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, said: "We are deeply saddened to learn the news of Karl Lagerfeld's passing today. His unrivalled contribution to the fashion industry changed the way women dress and perceive fashion. He inspired generations of young designers and will continue to do so."