Virgil Abloh and Louis Vuitton are speaking up against child sex abuse. Abloh debuted a Michael Jackson-inspired collection in Paris Fashion Week in Jan. 2019, but in the wake of the allegations revisited by HBO’s Leaving Neverland, the artistic director announced the luxury brand is pulling pieces of the FW19 line from production.
Abloh released a statement to WWD on Thursday (Mar. 14), condemning child abuse and explaining the motive behind the fall menswear collection. “I am aware that, in light of this documentary, the show has caused emotional reactions. I strictly condemn any form of child abuse, violence or infringement against any human rights,” he said. “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, Louis Vuitton’s chairman and chief executive officer, also elaborated on the controversy surrounding the collection, noting that they were “unaware” of the documentary prior to presenting the collection in Paris. “We find the allegations in the documentary deeply troubling and disturbing,” Burke told The New Yorker. “Child safety and welfare is of utmost importance to Louis Vuitton. We are fully committed to advocating this cause.”
A spokesperson for the French label also confirmed that “no item that directly features Michael Jackson elements” will be available to the public. “The Fall-Winter 2019 Men’s collection has multiple inspirations and will be launched in stores in July,” the statement reads.
As previously reported, Leaving Neverland spoke with two men who alleged they were sexually abused by Jackson when they were young. The shocking footage has triggered a worldwide response, both positive and negative. While some networks and organizations have started to remove Jackson-related content from circulation, some supporters have launched protests in their local areas to defend Jackson’s innocence.
The singer’s family has also denied the allegations and is seeking legal action against HBO and the alleged victims.