UK ban on 'overly sexualised' Calvin Klein advert featuring musician FKA twigs overturned

UK ban on 'overly sexualised' FKA twigs advert overturned
UK ban on 'overly sexualised' FKA twigs advert overturned Copyright Instagram FKAtwigs
Copyright Instagram FKAtwigs
By David Mouriquand
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The Calvin Klein ad featuring singer FKA twigs received two complaints and was banned in January. Now, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has said the image was not sexually explicit.


The UK’s advertising watchdog has reversed its ruling regarding a Calvin Klein poster which presented British musician FKA twigs as a "stereotypical sexual object".

The advert was banned in January after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received two complaints that the image was "overly sexualised" and objectified women.

The decision has been reviewed due to the ASA's concern "that our rationale for banning the ad was substantially flawed."

"After careful thought, our council, the independent jury that decides whether UK ads break the rules, considers that the image was not sexually explicit, that the ad presented FKA twigs as confident and in control and, therefore, that she had not been objectified."

FKA twigs, 36, whose real name is Tahliah Debrett Barnett, featured on the poster wearing a denim shirt and flashing some flesh.

See for yourself:

The previously banned advert
The previously banned advertInstagram

Calvin Klein defended the advert, arguing that the pose was “natural and neutral”.

FKA Twigs clapped back on social media, writing in a viral Instagram post: “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 continued: “in light of reviewing other campaigns past and current of this nature, i can’t help but feel there are some double standards here. so to be clear… i am proud of my physicality and hold the art i create with my vessel to the standards of women like josephine baker, eartha kitt and grace jones who broke down barriers of what it looks like to be empowered and harness a unique embodied sensuality. thank you to ck and mert and marcus who gave me a space to express myself exactly how i wanted to - i will not have my narrative changed.”

Double standards indeed, as the Calvin Klein ad unveiling its spring-summer 2024 campaign also featured The Bear’s Jeremy Allen White in his underwear, showing off his toned physique.

Everyone started idolising the man and his bare chest, in what is a fairly typical Calvin Klein pose. FKA twigs, however, got complaints...

Calvin Klein ads featuring FKA twigs and Jeremy Allen White
Calvin Klein ads featuring FKA twigs and Jeremy Allen WhiteInstagram

The ASA said it was aware of "significant strength of public feeling, including views expressed by FKA twigs" in response to its original findings.

However, it maintained the "ad was overtly sexual and was, therefore, not suitable for display in an untargeted medium" accessible by minors.

It said the republished ruling was final.

Until the next sexist double standard...

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